Executive summary of CPB inspector general’s report on the Tomlinson affair

See also PDF of the complete report and Current coverage. Review of Alleged Actions Violating the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, as Amended
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Office of Inspector General, has conducted a review of alleged violations of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, as amended. We found evidence that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) former Chairman violated statutory provisions and the Director’s Code of Ethics by dealing directly with one of the creators of a new public affairs program during negotiations with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the CPB over creating the show. Our review also found evidence that suggests “political tests” were a major criteria used by the former Chairman in recruiting a President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for CPB, which violated statutory prohibitions against such practices. Our review of the hiring of a consultant to review program content for objectivity and balance showed that such reviews were consistent with Section 19(2)(B) of the Public Telecommunications Act of 1992, however problems occurred when the former Chairman initiated such actions without informing the Board and signed the contract without Board authorization.

CPB Board reaction to Tomlinson affair, November 2005

Below are the chair's speech and several resolutions passed by the CPB Board Nov. 15, 2005, responding to the CPB inspector general's report on the Tomlinson Affair. The board unanimously created a Corporate Governance and Executive Compensation committees, as recommended by the inspector general and a Special Committee "to enhance awareness and appreciation of public broadcasting's achievements and potential for future service." It also renewed and appointed members of its Finance and Audit Committee. Statement by Cheryl Halpern, CPB Board chair

CPB Board of Directors meeting, Washington, D.C., Nov.

Organization of State Broadcasting Executives (OSBE) Statement of Mission and Purpose

OSBE is an affinity group of statewide public broadcasting organizations, both state-operated and nonprofit. Included are some state agencies that assist but do not operate stations. The Organization of State Broadcasting Executives (OSBE) is an interstate collaborative composed of chief executive officers of state public broadcasting networks and directors of commissions and authorities with statewide public broadcasting responsibilities. OSBE is composed of representatives from 32 states that operate or represent two thirds of the public broadcasting stations in the United States. OSBE began meeting on a regular basis in 1981 and formally organized in 1986.

APTS warns Tomlinson that it will oppose CPB interference with public TV

APTS sent this letter to CPB Board Chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson on June 7, 2005, after media reported that he favors the appointment of former Republican National Committee Chairwoman Patricia Harrison as CPB president. The letter refers to an earlier letter from the Iowa Public Broadcasting Board to the CPB Board. Dear Mr. Tomlinson:

The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization established to represent the interests of its members — the nation’s public television stations. APTS works closely with individual station representatives to produce effective national policies and strategies that allow stations to fulfill their individual local missions. In fulfilling their missions, public television stations are committed to firm principles of editorial integrity and programming diversity, which are enhanced through digital service.

Moyers’ speech to National Conference for Media Reform, 2005

Six months after retiring as host of PBS's Now with Bill Moyers, the longtime journalist spoke to activists gathered for the conference in St. Louis May 15, 2005. This prepared text was posted by Free Press [website], the sponsor of the conference. I can't imagine better company on this beautiful Sunday morning in St. Louis.

Public radio (unofficially) asks CPB to serve as political firewall, May 2005

Public radio station representatives endorsed this resolution by voice vote during NPR's annual Members Meeting of stations, May 3, 2005. The meeting lacked the quorum necessary to adopt a proposed official resolution. The proposal, offered by Tim Emmons, g.m. of Northern Public Radio in DeKalb, Ill., responded to recent news coverage about CPB activities promoting conservative programming on public TV. Whereas it is the statutory and historical role of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to serve as a firewall between partisan politics and public broadcasting; and

Whereas the Public Broadcasting Act specifically directs CPB to act “in ways that will most effectively assure the maximum freedom of the public telecommunications entities and systems from interference with, or control of, program content or other activities”; and

Whereas CPB has in the past respected the First Amendment rights of broadcasters and deferred to the professional judgments of journalists; and

Whereas the Public Broadcasting Act requires CPB to distribute program funds by grant rather than by contract specifically to limit CPB interference in the editorial decision-making process of public broadcasting program producers and stations; and

Whereas the Public Broadcasting Act requires CPB to create and annually update a plan for the development of public telecommunications services and consult with interested parties when so doing; and

Whereas CPB has recently dismissed its President and CEO under uncertain conditions; and

Whereas the CPB board recently appointed two ombudsmen without consulting with the public broadcasting system, raising legitimate concerns of an institutionalized process for potential interference in content, and

Whereas, such a process within a funding agency is fundamentally inconsistent with the principles of ombudsmen in reference to news organizations;

It is therefore resolved that:

CPB should follow statutory requirements and do nothing to diminish the firewall between the Federal funds appropriated by the Congress and the public broadcast programming it funds; and
CPB should follow statutory requirements and refrain from interfering in constitutionally protected content decisions; and
CPB should follow statutory requirements and, before making changes in funding priorities, should engage in a system-wide consultation about the priorities of public radio and defer to the reasonable and legitimate choices of broadcast professionals to build services of value within the local communities they serve.

University Licensee Association, Charter of Association, amended May 2005

The association includes public broadcasting stations licensed to colleges and universities — largely public TV or TV/radio joint licensees. It is one of several "affinity groups" within public TV that are consulted by national organizations making policy decisions. It is a member of the Affinity Group Coalition. The association also adopted a set of Core Principles, below. Mission

The mission of the University Licensee Association (ULA) is to assist public broadcasting stations licensed to colleges and universities in efforts to fulfill individual missions and goals through the sharing of ideas within the association and to speak for the special needs and interests of the licensees during times of national planning and decision-making.

Secretary of Education objects to Postcards from Buster ‘two moms’ episode, 2005

Margaret Spellings, secretary of education in George W. Bush's administration, complained to PBS in 2005 about an episode of the animated Postcards from Buster children's series with funding from her department. In the episode, Buster visits a Vermont family that has two moms. See also Current story. January 25, 2005
Ms. Pat Mitchell
President and Chief Executive Officer
Public Broadcasting Service
1320 Braddock Place
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Dear Ms. Mitchell:

The Department of Education has strong and very serious concerns about a specific Ready-To-Learn television episode, yet to be aired, that has been developed under a cooperative agreement between the Department and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The episode -- “Sugartime!” -- is part of the “Postcards from Buster” series, and would feature throughout the show families headed by gay couples. As you know, the cooperative agreement that PBS is using to support these programs is designed to prepare preschool and elementary age children for school.

National Educational Telecommunications Association Bylaws

NETA, a successor of Southern Educational Communications Association, provides a range of services to public TV professionals and stations, including program distribution, specialized councils for the various disciplines in stations, and an annual conference. It is based in Columbia, S.C.
ARTICLE I: PURPOSE
The purpose of the Corporation is exclusively educational: to develop, exchange, and share on a nonprofit basis the educational, instructional, and cultural resources of and with participating members of the Corporation so as to assist the development of instructional, educational, and cultural activities of educational television and radio stations: to produce, distribute, or otherwise exploit, or any combination thereof, for broadcast by radio, television, or otherwise, or any combination thereof, material which is instructional to the public on subjects useful to the individual and beneficial to the community; to further the utilization of other forms of electronic communications of educational material; to aid in developing and implementing interstate exchange of instructional, educational, or cultural material designed or intended for broadcast by radio, television, or otherwise, or any combination thereof; and to aid in developing and implementing interstate exchange of materials and information relating to the educational use of electronic communications. In the event of dissolution of the Corporation, the residual assets thereof will be conveyed or transferred to one or more organizations which are exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, or any successor section thereto; or to the Federal Government or to a state or local government, for public purposes exclusively. ARTICLE II: Membership
Section 1. The Corporation may accept for membership any eligible organization, agency, or individual, if such membership is consistent with the basic purposes of the Corporation.