Press Release: Rep. Cantor Urges Public Broadcasting to Conduct Objectivity and Balance Oversight

Washington, DC (PRWEB) August 6, 2008 – Congressman Eric Cantor (R Va.) is calling on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to develop “a clear mechanism” to assure that recipients of CPB funding meet the statutory requirement for “strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature.” In an August 4 letter to Chair Chris Boskin and the other CPB board members, Rep. Cantor said “I remain concerned” about a 2005 Inspector General’ s report that noted the corporation had not carried out its statutory obligation to, in the congressman’s words, “impose firm objectivity and balance standards on public television and radio.” CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) commends Rep. Cantor’s call for compliance.

Rep. Cantor wrote Ms. Boskin that he was pleased to learn the CPB launched its current “Project Champion” reform effort in part as a response to the I G’s criticism. The 2005 report observed, among other things, that the corporation had failed to conduct regular objectivity and balance reviews of programming by funding recipients such as NPR (National Public Radio) and television’s PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).

While Project Champion “is a welcome development, I fear that it could detract from the CPB’s legal requirement to directly exercise its ‘objectivity and balance’ oversight of public broadcasters,” Rep. Cantor wrote, stressing the corporation’s need for an internal means of overseeing compliance by those receiving congressionally allocated funds.

“CAMERA applauds Rep. Cantor for reminding CPB of something of primary importance to public broadcasting listeners and viewers, not to mention the ultimate stakeholders in this issue, taxpayers,” said Eric Rozenman, CAMERA’s Senior Research Analyst and Director of the news media monitoring organization’s Washington D.C. office. “That is that the laws creating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and providing for federal funding have long required CPB to exercise direct objectivity and balance oversight on behalf of Congress and the public. It’s past time that the corporation began upholding its obligation.”

Alex Safian, CAMERA’s Associate Director, added that “public broadcasting law prohibits pre broadcast censorship. And it also assumes post broadcast reviews, so that chronic violators — such as NPR (National Public Radio) with its Middle East coverage routinely biased against Israel — would be put on notice and, if improvement was not made, future funding requests would be more closely scrutinized. Rep. Cantor’s reminder to CPB that it must uphold the objectivity and balance requirement is most timely.”

The CPB board is expected to discuss “Project Champion” objectivity and balance developments at its September 23 24 quarterly meeting, to be held in Boston.

Rep. Cantor, whose district includes the Richmond area, is in his fourth term. He is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and chief deputy Republican whip.

CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), a national non-profit media-monitoring organization headquartered in Boston, works to promote accurate, balanced and complete coverage of Israel and the Middle East. A non-partisan 501(c)3 organization, CAMERA takes no position with regard to American or Israeli political issues or with regard to ultimate solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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