In his sign off from the PBS network, Gigot praises Tomlinson for "defending the importance of balance and diversity on public television."
It was Tomlinson who skimmed $4 million in public funds to help Gigot bring the Journal Editorial Report's free market hi-jinks to PBS on Friday nights. And for that Gigot is grateful.
But he fails to mention the recent Inspector General investigation that found Tomlinson's efforts on behalf of the Editorial Report to be gross violations of federal law and the agency's own ethical codes. According to the IG report, Tomlinson:
". . . admonished CPB senior executive staff not to interfere with his deal to bring a balancing program to PBS. These actions raise questions about the extent of the former Chairman's involvement in selecting and funding of The Journal Editorial Report. Specifically, the questions involve whether he breached his fiduciary responsibilities, was directly involved programming decisions, influenced the program format increasing the cost of the program, and exceeded his role as a Board member in directing the actions of CPB staff." [my emphasis]Maybe Gigot missed that.
Or maybe he missed the CPB's own public polling, which found that 80 percent of Americans already believed PBS to be fair and objective. Public opinion be damned; instead, Gigot and Tomlinson subscribed to the maxim: "If it ain't broke, let's make up reasons to fix it."
PBS needs "balance and diversity" they crowed, as they schemed to deliver it by airing a show peopled by white, Bush-friendly conservatives. Can't you just feel the diversity?
Gigot seems also to have not read his own emails with Tomlinson, in which the two conspire to turn public broadcasting into a bullhorn for Bush. Nor did Gigot mention that these emails indicate that Tomlinson lied before Congress, when he told Senator Inouye that he had nothing to do with the agreement that landed Gigot's news program at PBS.
The emails read like archetypal Fox News Channel banter. And their back and forth about "balance" must have pricked up the ears of FNC's media czar Roger Ailes.
Soon after the Editorial Report pulled up its stakes at public broadcasting, they announced plans to move the circus to Fox News Channel -- home to a brand of “fairness and balance” that Paul Gigot might better understand.