Earlier this month, PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer aired a segment featuring far-right radio talk show host Melanie Morgan and VoteVets chairman Jon Soltz. Morgan turned the segment into a shouting match.
Viewers contacted the station’s ombudsman and called Morgan’s appearance on the NewHour a “dilution of the integrity” of PBS; one viewer asked, “Who in the world thought she would be a rational voice to counter Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org?” In response, NewsHour Executive Producer Linda Winslow promised that “you will never see that person on our program again.”
Last night on Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes, Morgan accused PBS of “censorship,” saying that the network “has a blatant anti-conservative bias. They don’t want to hear a proud pro American, pro-troop point of view. They’ve clearly demonstrated that in the past. I think PBS should be ashamed of itself.” When Alan Colmes told Morgan, “I really think they should allow rude, interruptive guests like yourself on PBS,” Morgan said, “I agree.” Watch it:
Despite Morgan’s accusations, PBS does not have a bias against conservatives. A study published last fall found that from October 2005 to March 2006, “Republicans outnumbered Democrats on the NewsHour by 2-to-1,” and “’stay the course’ sources outnumbered pro-withdrawal sources more than 5-to-1.”
PBS and the NewsHour are not “anti-conservative,” but merely anti-Morgan.
COLMES: I’m going to side with you. I really think they should allow rude, interruptive guests like yourself on PBS.
MORGAN: I agree, you know, because after all, Alan, there are a lot of people who don’t like you for your rude, interruptive style.
COLMES: I know that to be true.
MORGAN: Nobody on my side has tried to silence you.
COLMES: Right. No, I agree.
MORGAN: It’s the thing that — it’s my taxpayer dollars that are being used to silence me. And this is what is happening.
What this whole thing is basically is a bottom line effort by Media Matters of America — for America, pardon me. It’s an effort they called their people and asked them to call PBS…
COLMES: You’re blaming me. PBS got a lot of negative reaction to your appearance. They have a right as an organization to say, look, this is a guest that doesn’t work for our audience. We’re not going to put the guest on again. They have a right to say that.
I think you have a right to be combative, by the same token, once they invited you on.
MORGAN: This is censorship because PBS has a blatant anti-conservative bias. They don’t want to hear a proud pro American, pro-troop point of view. They’ve clearly demonstrated that in the past. I think PBS should be ashamed of itself.
COLMES: By the way, you kept saying that you are the pro-troops, you’re the pro-American. You actually said we’ll be engaged as those on the left — the anti-American, antiwar side — as if those on my side are somehow anti-American or antiwar.
Your co-guest Jon Soltz was a troop, was the troops, is just as American, just as patriotic and just as loving of his country and the troops as you are. And you should not suggest otherwise. You’re entitled to, but you shouldn’t.
MORGAN: This is a young man who served his country, and we’re grateful for his service. But let me tell you, he is working for a partisan organization that clearly has a political agenda…
COLMES: As are you.