According to C-SPAN’s website, the network is…
“…a private, non-profit company, created in 1979 by the cable television industry as a public service. Our mission is to provide public access to the political process. C-SPAN receives no government funding; operations are funded by fees paid by cable and satellite affiliates who carry C-SPAN programming.”
That sounds like a pretty even-handed organization that is well suited to serve the public interest. But a little digging beneath the surface tells a different story. For instance, the cable and satellite affiliates that fund the network’s operations are predominately assets of the largest media and Telco corporations in the world. Companies like AT&T and Time Warner. It would be naive to presume that they have no agenda to promote.
In 2005, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) conducted a study that showed the network…
“…skewing rightward, favoring Republican and right-of-center interview subjects by considerable margins over Democratic and left-of-center guests. The study also found that women, people of color and public interest viewpoints were substantially underrepresented.”
For a recent example of the network’s bias, take a look a the schedule this week for coverage of two partisan political events. In Chicago, the YearlyKos conference for Democratic bloggers and activists was held August 2-5. The conservative Young America’s Foundation held their National Conservative Student Conference from July 30 – August 3, in Washington, DC. Here is a chart of C-SPAN’s coverage of these events (from their calendar):
|Program Title||# Airings|
|YearlyKos Conference Programs:|
|Media & 2006 Campaign||4|
|Political Issues & Current Events||2|
|Young Americas Foundation Conference Programs:|
|U.S. Healthcare System||3|
|Using the New Media||2|
|Future of the Young Conservative Movement||2|
|Origins of Planned Parenthood||1|
The tally so far is 2 YearlyKos programs with a combined total of 6 airings. That’s compared to 6 Young Americas programs with a combined total of 12 airings. So the conservative conference got twice as many time slots for 3 times as many panels as the progressive conference. The only way this can be described as fair and balanced is if C-SPAN uses the same twisted dictionary as Fox News.
Another recent example of bias is the interview with Kevin Leffler, director of the two year old crockumentary “‘Shooting Michael Moore.” For some reason C-SPAN felt compelled to give a platform to this undistinguished and outdated film but has not bothered to host the filmmakers responsible for the just-released “No End in Sight.”
Feel free to let C-SPAN’s Viewer Services know that you would like for them to schedule progressive events and guest bookings with at least the same frequency as they do for conservative programs. Or is that too much to ask the stepchild of Time Warner and AT&T?