Public Broadcasting or P 'BS'?: The Washington Post moves in on PBS Newshour
After more than three decades with The Washington Post executive Boisfeuillet (Bo) Jones Jr. has announced he will become President and CEO of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, which produces “PBS Newshour.” Jones is currently chairman of The Washington Post, the parent company of Kaplan University and Kaplan Tech. “Newshour” original anchor Jim Lehrer, 77, will leave the position in December of this year (Longtime Washington Post exec Bo Jones to MacNeil/Lehrer , October 27, 2011, http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/151166/longtime-washington-post-exec-bo-jones-to-pbs/).
Jones has served 32 years with The Washington Post under both Katherine and Donald Graham as Vice President & Counsel, President & General Manager, then Publisher & CEO from 2000 to 2008. At present he is Vice Chairman of the Washington Post Company and Chairman of The Washington Post newspaper.
As President of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, Jones will head corporate and foundation funding for the NEWSHOUR, coordinate relationships with all public television broadcast and distribution entities, as well as develop documentary programs and projects.
As corporate marinated Jones prepares to takeover as CEO and President at Newshour, the oil corporation, Chevron, announced they will no longer underwrite the PBS broadcast leaving a hole of just over $2 million in the $27 million annual budget. In September of this year PBS ombudsman, Michael Getler, criticized PBS for what he said was a misleading sponsorship message — on the one hand they call themselves public broadcasting and hold themselves out as –non-profit’, while on the other hand they grovel for money from mega-corporations that destroy the environment, kill food supplies, pollute the water, and support Wall Street trading fraud.
In order to capture the shrinking market for their ‘news’, the increasingly privatized PBS broadcasters have planned an effort to raise money from wealthy supporters (NewsHour’ Changes Raise Questions at PBS, November 6, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/business/media/at-pbss-newshour-departures-questions-and-complaints.html?_r=1).
The begging at the feet of the one percent was supposed to start in October of this year with a pledge drive aimed at the wealthy. However, Newshour has announced that the begging from the one percent will be postponed until January of 2012.
As the move towards more privatization and whoring is accelerated at Newshour and PBS, more shakeups at the graying organization were recently announced. Managing editor for digital news, Maureen Hoch, will head over to the World Bank while political editor, David Chalian, will be leaving to become the Washington bureau chief for Yahoo News. All of this of course alludes to the fact that Newshour was never a public news program. The lines between the corporate world of media and the so-called public news hour is not blurry, it is virtually non-existent.
MacNeil/Lehrer Productions (MLP), a partnership of Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil, with Liberty Media Corporation, is best known as the producer of the PBS NEWSHOUR. At 77 years old, Lehrer has shown he is simply out of touch with both journalism and the world most people live in and the show continues to hemorrhage viewers and donors as more and more people abandon stale and mendacious corporate news and race to the internet for alternative points of view.
Commenting on Jones as the new CEO and President, Lehrer said:
“Bo Jones is the ideal person to take us where we must go. He has a unique combination of journalistic integrity and business acumen, plus he understands Americans’ increasing demand for serious journalism about the issues and events that matter” (Longtime Washington Post exec Bo Jones to MacNeil/Lehrer , October 27, 2011, http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/151166/longtime-washington-post-exec-bo-jones-to-pbs/).
Jones is also a trustee of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. This not-for-profit organization assists the one percent in ‘philanthropy and estate planning’ so central to their tax avoidance. It is fully invested in hedge funds and Wall Street financials instruments (Finances, http://www.thecommunityfoundation.org/site/c.ihLSJ5PLKuG/b.4475715/k.269D/What_We_Do.htm). Jones is also a former director of the Associated Press and the Newspaper Association of America. As a lifelong corporate mogul for the Post he is a perfect fit for the public broadcast, Newshour, which is about as public as Obama’s health care plan illustrating that there is more ‘BS’ in PBS than there is public broadcasting.