PBS vs. Congress: selling out?

Now that PBS president Pat Mitchell is leaving, publisher Alberto Ibarguen tells the Times that with his budgets in a steady decline, pretty soon, “you can’t afford to take risks.” So whose fault is that? The Times correctly identifies how conservative Congressmen terrified of Liberals for years have pressured the House that Moyers Built.

But the identity crisis runs much deeper than that, because Mitchell never had a clear vision of what she wanted the company to be: Was it to stay a fuzzy liberal holdover from the 1970s? Become a copycat HBO? Or some Frankenhybrid nobody wants to watch? Recently, PBS famously yanked a children’s program where a rabbit named Buster visited a pair of lesbian parents.

So where to now? Our guess is that Ibarguen will bow to Congress and make massive concessions just to get his budget. And if the current winds off the Potomac are any indication, Fishbowl is pretty sure next year’s PBS schedule will have more red-state-approved material. Because out there, they don’t have their rabbits visit lesbians. They shoot them.

Advantage: PBS-haters in Congress. Unless Ibarguen proposes a 24-part series on the evils of biological evolution.