Friday, October 30, 2009


There are two TV networks that raise my ire. One is CNBC with its stable of conservative Republicans adamantly opposed to anything Obama and the Democrats do. And the second is PBS, specifically The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, about which I want to talk in this post.

PBS offers The NewsHour as if it is fulfilling its obligation to present world and national news on weekday evenings. But as far as news content, The NewsHour is a canard. Compare it with BBC World News or with France 24 or even with RT News from Russia. It is then that the shallowness of The News Hour becomes transparent. Why? Because The NewsHour presents not more than five minutes hard news, the rest being low-cost interviews with "newsmakers" or "experts" from PBS studios in D.C.

Then consider the cast of characters on The NewsHour. Judy Woodruff, no doubt a nice person, is hopeless as an interviewer. CNN certainly lost nothing when she left. She'll agree with anything a guest says. Has she any opinion on anything? Is she prepared to challenge some of the outrageous things her interviewees say or claim? I argue she is not.

Then consider Margaret Warner. She asks good questions, but seems not to listen to the answers. A guest can say anything, Margaret Warner will simply go on to the next question.

How about Jim Lehrer? Like the other two, he is hopeless. Besides he comes across as a hay seed.

I submit: PBS should get rid of The NewsHour and start all over again. Look at the offerings of news on Al Jazeera, Euronews, France 24 or RT. PBS has a lot to learn, especially when it comes to representing solid national and international news.

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