...and then they came for PBS

How about a warm PBS welcome for two of the most recent "nonpartisan" appointments to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting!

Bush 2003 recess appointment, Gay Hart Gaines

"Gaines has been active in a wide range of charitable, civic, and arts organizations at both the national and the local level. Gaines represents the state of Florida on the Board of Mount Vernon. She is also currently a member of the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Madison Council of the Library of Congress. She has served as a board member of the Hudson Institute, the Best Friends Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Association, where she was also president for three years. She was a charter member of GOPAC, which she chaired from 1993-1997, and chairman of the National Review Institute from 1991-1993. Long active in Republican Party affairs, Gaines is a trustee of the Palm Beach County Republican Party, and a board member and president of the Palm Beach Republican Club."

Bush 2002 recess appointment, Cheryl F. Halpern

"... She served through 2002 as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors with oversight responsibility for Voice of America, Radio and TV Marti, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Worldnet, Radio Free Asia, and Radio Free Iraq.

Halpern's wide range of civic involvement includes participation on the boards of the International Republican Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Lexington Institute. She also serves on the President's Advisory Council of Barnard College. Halpern is the national chairperson of the character education program of the Words Can Heal organization. In 2003 she was a member of the US delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Conference on Anti-Semitism."

Other board member biographies can be found here.

To be a suitable candidate for an appointment to the CPB board, the following characteristics seem most desirable-- that you are:

* successful in Republican Party fundraising
* associated with and supportive of Right-wing think tanks or other Right-leaning advocacy groups
* ideologically driven and/or a trained propagandist with either government or private industry experience
* linked with one or more of the following Republican Party target constituency groups: American Jewish organizations, the Spanish-language broadcasting industry, the State of Florida (or California), or the very rich.

Might there be a few voices that have no representation on this board?

tainted by association

While Bush 2003 appointee Beth Courtney might seem uniquely qualified-- for a Bush appointee (a seemingly non-political appointment!)-- there is... her husband.

Bob Courtney: former Louisiana First Assistant Secretary of State (also newscaster and media consultant), a loyal Republican Party activist (or here), and founder of Courtney Communications where, as a "political consultant" he has "assisted a wide variety of local, state and national clients."

You might recall this nineties-era political scandal involving the Louisiana Republican Party, Woody Jenkins, Courtney Communications and the phone banks of David Duke(!)

Karl Rove has nothing on this guy-- or maybe he does?

One of Courtney's recent political gigs was with the failed U.S. Senate campaign of Louisiana State Representative Tony Perkins in 2002. Perkins-- the former campaign manager for the 1996 Courtney-consulted Jenkins U.S. Senate Campaign (see scandal above)-- is now the president of the extremely Right-wing and anti-gay (some might say gay-obsessed) Family Research Council.

Bob Courtney is a well-placed and well-connected man in the Republican Party. From the Courtney Communications Web site we learn that "as First Assistant Secretary of State, Courtney led efforts to modernize and fully computerize the state's elections system"... experience that may be especially valuable in the next election.

Beth Courtney's term on the board of the CPB expires in 2010-- a term that will include two presidential elections and Louisiana's next attempt to place a Republican in the U.S. Senate in 2006.

Subsequent to (and resulting from?) the appointments of Courtney, Halpern and Gaines to the board of directors at CPB, conservative filmmaker, Michael Pack, whose sympathetic documentary portrayal of Newt Gingrich drew praise in conservative circles, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of television programming. (Among Michael Pack's recent programming suggestions-- a program for middle-schoolers hosted by wife of the Vice President, Lynn Cheney.)

With Tucker Carlson, Paul Gigot and (God help us) Michael Medved joining the talk show lineup, the age of the "Partisan Broadcasting Service" is born. In this "kinder, gentler," Republican values-laden world, Charlie Rose, in comparison, will actually seem liberal-- something he has always claimed to be.

Let the Reagan documentaries begin!



PBS: The New Voice of America

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