Moyers’ ‘Buying the War’

Bill Moyers is back on PBS tonight with ‘Buying the War’. In 2005, then-Corporation for Public Broadcasting president Ken Tomlinson bent over backwards for the Bush Administration and hired media researchers that would determine an “imbalance” in PBS’ programming. He repeatedly accused Moyers of “liberal bias” on his popular show “Now with Bill Moyers” and soon enough, the esteemed Moyers said buh-bye. Around the same time, Congress cut funding to the CPB, the primary funder of PBS and NPR, by 45%. (Annenberg’s own Ernie Wilson currently serves on the CPB board).

‘Buying the War’ airs tonight at 9 PDT and may be available online afterwards — as usual, the PBS site is already chock-full-of extra interviews, a blog, etc.

WaPo’s TV critic Tom Shales wrote:

Tonight’s edition of ‘Bill Moyers Journal’ on PBS is one of the most gripping and important pieces of broadcast journalism so far this year, but it’s as disheartening as it is compelling…. In this 90-minute report, called ‘Buying the War,’ Moyers and producer Kathleen Hughes use alarming evidence and an array of respected journalists to make the case that, in the rage that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the media abandoned their role as watchdog and became a lapdog instead.

More to come after it airs (9 PDT out west) Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse at bloggers’ reactions around the Web:

UPDATE: Moyers is great, as is Rather, who is featured throughout (and to whom I gave much love last month). I’ve been hearing these same references — Landay/Strobel, etc — it makes me cringe. Surely, the refrain will ring out long after this war is behind us. Larisa, who feared Russert was about to go all fetal-position, posted a succinct, 8-point review of the program here.

U.S. Broadband Ranking Drops 25%

photo by Scott Beale/Laughing SquidStressing how little has happened to bridge the broadband divide in the past year, FreePress admonished the gov’t regarding the OECD’s recently released (tho dated December 2006) data on global broadband penetration. According to the latest data, the U.S. — which was 12th in June ’06 — has been leapfrogged by the likes of Japan, France, and Luxembourg and is now 15 (out of the 30 OECD nations):

“We are failing to bring the benefits of broadband to all our citizens, and the consequences will resonate for generations,” said Ben Scott, policy of director of Free Press. “There is no justification for America’s declining status as a global Internet leader. Instead of more excuses, it’s time for true national broadband policy that will put America’s digital future back on track.”

Scott will lay down the disappointing facts before the Senate Commerce Committee today, according to Katie @ GigaOm.

At SavetheInternet it’s time for action.

According to the OECD, less than 20 percent of the U.S. population has broadband access. It didn’t take this long for TV to gain such widespread usage and, in my opinion, broadband Internet access is paramount in importance in today’s world.

Nearly 400 cities and counties have developed or are planning muni wi-fi broadband. But in many cases — especially in larger cities such as Philly and SF — the task is insurmountable thanks to a lack of government initiative (or complacency w/ telecom duopoly and policy gridlock).

Congress MUST pass a bill in the vein of the McCain / Lautenberg 2005 Community Broadband Act and create and pass a new telecom bill as soon as possible.

Additionally, settle The Center for Public Integrity’s lawsuit (filed months ago) demanding data on broadband deployment from the FCC. What’s to hide?

UPDATE: Ben Scott’s testimony (.pdf).

photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid