For Immediate Release
Tel: 212-633-6700 x13
Tell PBS: Bring Back Now! 'Need to Know' Fails to Live up to PBS mission
NEW YORK - It's official: Need to Know
has failed to pursue the kind of hard-hitting reporting, full of diverse
perspectives, that was regularly supplied by the shows it replaced, Now and the Bill Moyers Journal. Now Friday night on PBS looks a lot like the rest of public television's prominent news and public affairs shows--which, as FAIR's new studies have documented, means a pronounced tilt towards white male sources and a miniscule number of activists or public interest advocates.
That's a far cry from the intended mission of public broadcasting--to
"provide a voice for groups in the community that may otherwise be
unheard," to serve as "a forum for controversy and debate," and
broadcast programs that "help us see America whole, in all its
diversity." The things that Moyers and Now did.
When PBS announced without explanation that it was cancelling Now, just as Moyers was retiring, FAIR activists encouraged PBS to "develop new programming that will be just as tough and independent" as the Journal and Now.
Since the new show falls short of that goal, PBS should bring back the program that did exactly what public television should be doing, and restore Now to its original one-hour timeslot.
As a matter of fact, Now will return on November 18 with a
special one-hour broadcast devoted to local communities and economic
innovation. That's a start. But how about giving viewers this kind of
journalism every week?
It would be wonderful if every program on PBS lived up to the mission of public broadcasting. Let's start by bringing back Now.
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FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.