When I first moved to the Valley of the Sun in 2000, the PBS TV channel, KAET, was a “powerhouse.” The best TV programming on local television. “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” gave the best (unbiased) analysis of the day’s news events. “Masterpiece Theatre” and “Masterpiece Mystery” were “must watch” week in and week out. Wonderful foreign films were shown that could be seen nowhere else on the Valley of the Sun’s TV channels. We viewers didn’t know it be we were seeing the “beginning of the end” for KAET.
The 2007 recession changed everything, not only in the lives of America’s citizens, but for public-supported television and radio too.
So-called “Pledge Weeks” that had occurred maybe three-four times a year became bimonthly, then monthly and now it seems to occur every week. The viewers started noticing that the volunteers manning the phones were “twiddling” their fingers and shuffling papers instead of answering donors’ pledge calls because the pledges were not coming in. The new “NewsHour” wasn’t unbiased anymore but had become very liberal, leaning toward the Democrats every more. “Washington Week” and the “McLaughlin Report” no longer bothered to “balance” their reporters or guests so that the viewer was given both sides of an issue. Now there was just one side, the liberal/left-wing side of the argument. Presumably, the management seemed to feel that the donations came from the liberal/left-wing core viewers but they found out too late that it was the older, more conservative viewers who were the most numerous and generous supporters. But these older, more conservative viewers had become disgruntled seeing the liberal/left-wing-biased programming that had taken over from the old unbiased regime at PBS.
Just look at KAET’s local TV programs. “Horizon” and “Horizonte” are so biased to the left and the La Raza/Hispanic viewpoint as to become unwatchable. TV programs and specials showing the 1960s’ black segregation experience (even though that was 50 years ago) can be seen on a regular basis. The same for the illegal alien invasion of our state, which is now called the “undocumented immigrant” crisis by the liberal/left-wing KAET hosts.
The KAET management still feels that it can put on endless donation programs if they couple it with “1940s, 1950s, 1960s” oldies-but-goodies shows. Remember all the Riverdance and Irish girl singers around seven years ago? They too became boring.
Well, now we see that KAET had been merged with the (state income tax-supported) ASU Cronkite School, which is hardly a swing to the right.
Now it is up to the Republican leadership in the Arizona Legislature to cast a long, hard look at this “partnership” and what it is costing Arizona’s hard-working taxpayers.