Nixon Administration Public Broadcasting Papers, Summary of 1971

A major part of OTP’s activity in 1971 involved the development of a long-term financing bill for CPB. However, because of disagreements with CPB over details of the draft “Public Telecommunications Financing Act of 1971” and the Administration’s displeasure with public broadcasting’s news and public affairs programming, the Administration did not submit a CPB funding bill to Congress that year. On April 13, Flanigan and Whitehead, now OTP Director, met in Flanigan’s office with CPB Directors Cole and Wrather, both of whom had been appointed to the Corporation Board by President Nixon. The meeting was an outgrowth of Flanigan’s and Whitehead’s correspondence with Cole, dating from November 9, 1970, when Flanigan wrote to Cole complaining about the NET documentary “Banks and the Poor.” On March 15, Flanigan sent Whitehead a memo which said:
Regarding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, we discussed having a meeting of our directors to determine where we go from here with the Corporation.

Nixon Administration Public Broadcasting Papers, Summary of 1970

The Nixon Administration continued to develop its position on public broadcasting in 1970. While doing so, it proposed a new three-year authorization for CPB. In 1970, the President also appointed five CPB Directors. On February 6, Whitehead wrote to Flanigan, Garment, Ranks, Shakespeare and McWhorter, asking them for suggestions for the five CPB Board seats opening up in March. “I think it would be useful if we could come up with a list of five outstanding individuals,” Whitehead wrote.

Nixon Administration Public Broadcasting Papers, 1969-1974 — Introduction

These memos from the Nixon Administration cover a period of peak conflict between the White House and public broadcasting. The documents were released by the government five years later in response to a Freedom of Information Act request in 1978 by the second Carnegie Commission. These summaries were prepared and released during the Carter Administration by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the successor agency of the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy, a central player in the 1969–74 conflict. The summaries were published as The Nixon Administration Public Broadcasting Papers 1969–1974 by the National Association of Educational Broadcasters. Introduction and Foreword to NAEB printing and NTIA letters of transmittal are shown below.