Wednesday, February 09, 2005

(Dis)Information Age

Sorry about the extended Holiday season break.

Have you ever heard of Kenneth Y. Tomlinson?

Maybe you should.

He's the Chairman of the Boards of both the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which funds and supports both PBS and NPR) and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and numerous other outlets broadcasting the official US position abroad, particularly in the Arab world and Cuba).

He's also the former editor of Reader's Digest, which itself is published in more than 30 countries around the world.

He also has been a significant campaign contributor to Sen. John Warner (R-VA - Senate Armed Services Chair and Homeland Security & Government Affairs Chair), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA - Chair, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee), and Pres. Bush. Not to mention Steve Forbes.

So, arguably Mr. Tomlinson is the most powerful leader of public broadcasting in the US and abroad. These could be very powerful tools for propaganda efforts abroad and at home. Although there's nothing to suggest he's an unethical person, he is certainly a supporter of powerful Republican candidates.

Anyway, it's worth noting that the same person is chair of two quasi-public entities which have ultimate responsibility for a lot of broadcast air time around the world.

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