Missing from the report is email traffic between Tomlinson and White House political advisor Karl Rove, reportedly provided to Inspector General Kenneth Konz by investigators at the State Department. This evidence, which reveals the White House's hand in manipulations of public broadcasting programming, is still under lock and key at the heavily partisan CPB.
The 67-page report by Konz concluded that Tomlinson violated the Public Broadcasting Act on repeated occasions, leading a dysfunctional agency -- created to protect broadcast programming from politics -- in a crusade against what he saw as "liberal advocacy journalism" on PBS and NPR.
It reveals that Tomlinson and other conservative members on the board used "political tests" as a "major criteria" in hiring Patricia Harrison, a former chairwoman of the Republican Party, to be CPB president. The report also said "cryptic" e-mails between Tomlinson and the White House indicated by their timing and subject matter that Tomlinson "was strongly motivated by political considerations in filling the president/CEO position."
The IG document, however, does not reveal these emails. Nor does it share the reported emails between Tomlinson and his "close friend" Rove.
According to a Nov 5 article in the New York Times, State Department investigators seized records of this e-mail traffic from the Broadcasting Board of Governors and handed it over to Konz. But it’s gone AWOL from today’s CPB release.
Mysteriously, Konz's report mentions a “separate investigative report, along with specific evidence indicating possible wrongdoing,” that he made available to the CPB board. This separate report could contain the Rove-Tomlinson traffic but it’s still unavailable to public eyes.
The published report also criticizes the secretive hiring of Republican operative Frederick Mann to monitor "Now with Bill Moyers" and other programs without authorization from the CPB Board. It concludes the many violations were primarily the result of Tomlinson's "personal actions to accomplish his various initiatives," but it also identifies "serious weaknesses" throughout the CPB's governance system.
The report that was released makes it abundantly clear that officials at the top of the organization were conspiring to subject America's public broadcasting system to a politcial litmus test.
Tomlinson stepped down from the CPB Board on Nov. 3 upon learning of the report's findings. The remaining leadership of the CPB have close ties the Bush administration. Chairwoman Cheryl Halpern and Vice Chairwoman Gay Hart Gaines are veteran GOP operatives and mega-fundraisers, who have praised Tomlinson for "his legitimate efforts to achieve balance and objectivity in public broadcasting." Tomlinson’s hand-picked choice to run the CPB, Harrison, recently oversaw "public diplomacy" efforts at the State Department.
It’s clear that Tomlinson isn't the lone culprit at CPB. Its board members and staff are continuing his work to undermine the foundation of public broadcasting.
But to learn more about the extent to which Rove was involved, Congress needs to turn up the pressure to disclose all the evidence that Konz and the CPB have on hand.