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Groups of senators and representatives wrote to CPB on Friday urging that it delay the appointment of a new president. Twenty-one reps asked CPB to begin a “transparent and nonpartisan search” to fill the job. Democratic Sens. Byron Dorgan, Hillary Clinton and Frank Lautenberg questioning board Chairman Ken Tomlinson’s plan to hire the former chief of the Republican party (PDF): “We find it astonishing that [Patricia] Harrison, given her former prominence as a partisan political figure, would be even considered as a candidate for a job that demands that the occupant be nonpolitical.” APTS earlier told CPB it would oppose acts that violate, or appear to violate, pubcasters’ independence.

Earlier in the week on the Senate floor, Dorgan said it was “pretty unseemly” that CPB had spent public money to monitor whether remarks on public TV were “anti-Bush” or “pro-Bush.” Those were terms the senator saw in raw data from a CPB consultant’s evaluation of Bill Moyers’ Now. He noted that some of the evaluations were erroneous, such as one classifying conservative Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as a “liberal,” because Hagel had questioned White House strategy in Iraq. CPB sent the raw data to him on request but had not yet sent the consultant’s summary. Dorgan declared himself a fan of Jim Lehrer’s NewsHour and a critic of media concentration.