The inbred liberal bias of KPBS

Richard Rider, Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters Richard Rider, Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters 17 Comments


Recently our local San Diego KPBS radio station held one of its “Roundtable” shows to discuss and analyze the nominally nonpartisan San Diego mayor’s race. Here’s the link and especially the players (then read MY analysis below the players):

KPBS Midway Edition Radio Program.
Roundtable: “Non-Partisan” Mayor’s Race Heats Up.
By Pat Finn, Gloria Penner. July 1, 2011.


Kyla Calvert, Education Reporter, KPBS News

John Warren, Editor, San Diego Voice and Viewpoint

David Rolland, Editor, San Diego CityBeat

As if we need verification of the blatant liberal bias of our local KPBS station — note the “guests” on this show (these are the usual guests — not an exception). We find two established hard core progressives and a doubtless liberal “education reporter.”

BTW, what the hell does an “education reporter” have to do with the city mayor’s race? Many laymen think that the city is somehow responsible for the public schools (true in some towns in other states, perhaps), but the career political crew at KPBS knows better.

I might add that in over 30 years of interacting with the press, I’ve NEVER met a politically neutral or objective “education reporter,” let alone one that leans towards school choice, ending tenure, or other conservative reforms. It’s my experience that reporters who seek this beat naturally come from the solid left. Conservatives don’t want this job, which is too darn bad.

BOTTOM LINE: Any conservative, libertarian, or independent who voluntarily donates a dime to “public broadcasting” needs shock therapy. Preferably 220 volt.


Comments 17

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  2. I hope the folks at KPBS look at this post as an opportunity to include more of the political spectrum in their roundtables. That would certainly make the roundtables more lively and perhaps attract a bigger audience.

  3. Richard, it might shock you to know that this “established hard core progressive” would like the practice of the “last in, first out” layoff policy among teachers reformed. Does that throw your narrative off kilter a bit?

  4. Oh, also, the mayor’s race was the third topic (which always gets the least number of minutes of the three). The main topic was education funding, and the second topic was county redistricting. FYI.

  5. KPBS need look no further than SD Rostra for the kind of healthy infusion Mr. Fikes mentions.

    Gayle Falkenthal, Vince Vasquez and Brad Fikes himself for instance. But are they ready for the force that is “B Daddy” ?

  6. I actually think the problem is NOT with the Roundtable members. It is a problem with Gloria Penner – who treats conservative views with disgust. Listening to her week in and week out – liberal assertions are either simply taken on face value or provided wonderful softballs Conservative ones are treated with skepticism or outright hostility.

    But it is a problem which is deeply ingrained in the culture there. For instance, they put BBC World Service on during drive time which, as my wife suggests, should be called “We Hate America” radio. They have relegated Marketplace, by no means great free market radio, to now 630 outside of prime drive time. They don’t pick up “NOW” – one of the more interesting PBS documentaries (hell, it is liberal just not socialism). Since Scott Horsely left they do not have a business reporter on the radio side but find resources to have at least 2 border reporters and 2 environmental reporters (along with Tom Fudges public transportation beat).

  7. Dave – if you want to stay true to your liberal roots in addition to longevity I would hope you would put full force of comment behind “post-and-bid” at SDUSD. Really it should be a litmus test for City Beat and school board. If you care about K-12 as a means of helping kids and families move up the socio-economic ladder than P&B is perhaps the more “regressive” policy one could imagine. You should put Richard B. on the spot why he hasn’t gone after it full force.

    PS. For those that are not wonks, P&B is the system used in SDUSD that puts seniority as the ONLY criteria used in determining transfers. The result is that teachers start in schools south of 8 and then, as positions North open up, move on. Not all do but enough so that length of service is lower in the South and the schools most challenged get the highest number of inexperienced teachers. WONDERFUL system for Bird Rock and Scripps Ranch. SUCKs if you live in City Heights or Barrio Logan.

  8. Jim, I suggest some of our most excellent local Tea Party folks, such as Leslie Eastman and Dawn Wildman.

    Eastman is a Tea Party Democrat, which adds an interesting twist. Wildman used to be a Republican, and has since become an independent. Their stories point out that Tea Party folks aren’t necessarily GOP pawns, a misconception the media often propagates.

  9. The whole point of the format of the “Editor’s Roundtable” is to feature EDITORS from print and broadcast outlets. Commentators, pundits, and political activists don’t meet the show’s long-standing criteria… even if you are (ahem) an Award-Winning Political Blogger. So I won’t be appearing anytime soon.

    Perhaps Thor would be willing to appear on behalf of Rostra? Do we even HAVE an editor around here?

    Without Bob Kittle available anymore, in all fairness where else is KPBS going to find a conservative/Libertarian editor who doesn’t already appear on a competitor radio station? Thoughts?

  10. Gayle, you make some good points about the Editors’ Roundtable format, at least as it was originally conceived. With the explosion of new media and the weakening of traditional media, I’d say the format of trying to explain stories with only a panel of editor savants is past its prime.

    We no longer have just a few gatekeepers who control what the public learns. And KPBS appears to have recognized that and opened up to non-editors.

    Truth be told, you are likely to more pertinent observations on specific subjects from reporters than editors. Reporters can really focus on their particular beats and explain the nuances. Editors have to deal with many reporters covering many beats, and rarely have the time to give one subject their focus. Of course, being a reporter, I would say that . . . but I still think it’s valid.

    Same goes for bloggers, who can become authorities on subjects to a degree modern journalism doesn’t allow. We’ve got some fine bloggers right in our backyard; some have been mentioned in this thread. Let’s see KPBS tap into their expertise, and perhaps get a new audience the bloggers will bring them.

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    David, I’m delighted to hear you oppose the current DE FACTO teacher tenure. That IS what you meant, isn’t it? Teachers should be hired, retained, promoted, or fired based on performance, diligence, effectiveness and skills — rather than on seniority. Right? I don’t want to misrepresent your breakthrough position.

    Let’s firm up your epiphany by publishing on SDRostra your editorial to this effect. Since doubtless it requires no more effort from you than a “copy and paste” of your existing writing on this topic, this should be an easy task for you to complete.

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    Gayle, on my Facebook version of this post, I got the following clarification on “Editors Roundtable” from Scott Lewis with VOICE:

    “FYI, I don’t speak for KPBS but the “Editors Roundtable” was changed to the “Roundtable” recently and it was moved to noon. They wanted to include people who weren’t “editors” (maybe even someone like you?).”

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  15. Agree with Richard and Brad on the overall issue. New voices and ideas would be a plus for the show.

    But a word on behalf of Gloria Penner… She long hosted a series on KPBS-Channel 15 TV called “Ballot”. It featured debates between candidates for local office.

    I took many a Candidate Client to her TV debates over the years, and Ms. Penner was scrupulously FAIR in the questions she asked, and the way she moderated the discussions.

    Almost all candidates, Right and Left, accepted her invitations to those debates owing to Gloria Penner’s excellent reputation in the politics community.

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