Hell hath no fury like a PBS liberal scorned. I knew that by entering the coliseum of elite liberalism a toxic tidal wave of hate mail would be released upon me, and that it would only confirm my point that PBS is the privileged playhouse of a liberal nomenklatura that will claw any conservative who dares touch or even question it. How quickly the high-brow mask of PBS partisans drops to reveal the rancid face of liberal fascism.
And the PBS partisans can’t even restrict their wrath to me. So worked up into a lather at my mere presence on their home turf some of them have expressed outrage that NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown didn’t rig the game better. “The demonization of Bill Moyers is not limited to conservative venues,” complains Jan Herman in a column titled, “Kill Bill, The Latest Version,” at blogcritics.org. “George Neumayr, executive editor of the hardline right-wing American Spectator Magazine, was given ample time last night to spew his venom on PBS’s NewsHour in a softball interview with Jeffrey Brown.”
Dailykos.com posted a letter written to Jeffrey Brown from a PBS diehard that began: “I love the NewsHour and think you normally do a great job as you let people have their say and walk the fine line of balance. Tonight, however, I was appalled. You gave George Neumayr a complete pass. He was claiming that PBS has a ‘pervasive’ liberal [bias] — that means he was saying it about you too — I expect Public Broadcasting to defend itself against such manifest hogwash as part of the price of getting my twice yearly pledges.”
The writer then patronizingly sketched out for Brown a set of questions he should have asked me and admonished him: “I wish you guys would dig your heels in and get your dukes up — it’s time to reclaim public broadcasting for the public and it’s your job to ask those questions. That would help people who like to see both sides of an issue know where the wrong wingers are coming from.”
The ferocious letters to me conveyed not confidence but this fear stated above — the PBS partisans’ panic that their liberal monolith could soon crack up. The defensive hysteria in the letters betrayed as posturing the claim in many of them that I “was pitiful” and hadn’t threatened their cherished outpost. Why then were so many of them writing and calling me so desperately (some of the phone calls I received from PBS partisans were amusing in their smarmy and earnest, I-need-to-reeducate-you tone that would quickly descend into frightened barking in an attempt to silence me from further criticism of PBS)? People don’t hit back that hard and with such demented invective unless you lay a glove on their favorite positions and get them disoriented and reeling.
As the barbarically vitriolic letters poured in, I thought about the advertisement Bill Moyers bought and published this week in the Washington Post in which he argued that PBS is the “core curriculum” of America, the shaper of gentle, refined souls attuned to “beauty” and wisdom. Have you met my letter writers, Mr. Moyers? They have received such an aristocratic education in the higher things from PBS they now have the tolerance and refinement of French Revolutionaries.
The pretensions of PBS’s partisans are beyond parody. To puncture their we-possess-the-serene-maturity-to-save-the-Republic conceit, all you have to do is say (a) obvious liberal bias exists on PBS, and (b) taxpayers shouldn’t have to finance it. That’s enough to make them come unglued. Their posture of maturity and rationality will immediately give way to the primitive posture of 1960s radicalism — a wild, essentially speechless, fascistic form of protest that throws light on liberalism’s basic hostility to reason and morality.
PBS, as a decaying monument to LBJ’s Great Society from which it came, is one of the left’s last redoubts and they will not surrender taxpayer money without a savage fight. This requires, as the first phase of the fight, bullying and intimidating critics of PBS into silence. The answer to the paradox — why do PBS partisans who regard themselves as apostles of tolerance and enlightenment resort so easily to intimidation and infantile exertion of will? — is that their claims are based not on reason but on force. Their ideology is a willfulness writ large that becomes more graphic (through the use of heavy-handed tactics) as their long-standing privileges are scrutinized and withdrawn. Moreover, since liberal claims (such as the claim: no liberal bias exists on PBS) do not find any basis in reality, they cannot be rationally and calmly demonstrated, and can only be sustained through the hectoring propaganda of “editorial independence” and so forth.
The screaming at critics of PBS grows in direct proportion to the likelihood that this taxpayer-financed liberal monopoly will dissolve. And this howling just confirms the need to hasten its dissolution.
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