PBS, Pop Concerts, and an Ethical Dilemma
A few moments ago, I received a PR email with the suspicious subject line “Pop Concert Line-up On PBS—Begins December 3.” Inside, some guy named Tim wrote enthusiastically:
PBS PRESENTS AN ALL-STAR PERFORMANCE LINE-UP IN DECEMBER. New Music Specials Feature CARLY SIMON, BENISE, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, PAUL ANKA, JIM BRICKMAN, TOM JONES, RICKY NELSON, BARBRA STREISAND, MICHAEL BUBLÉ and A DOO WOP CALVACADE.
Now, for as much as I love Babs and the Boss, I found myself getting a little irritated that PBS was presenting these concerts, each of which arguably carries enough commercial appeal (which is to say advertising dollar attraction) to profitably appear on commercial T.V. Also, if this were Britain and we had several public, government-support television stations, perhaps I wouldn’t feel so stingy. But this is America, and PBS is viewer supported! And I want to see Dr. Atomic not the Doo Wop Calvacade!
I was just about to write “the angry letter,” when I recalled a shameful little fact. When PBS or NPR conducts a funding drive, they ask some hard questions. Do I benefit from the programming presented? I do. Do I depend on them to continue to provide quality programming? I do. Do I make an annual pledge reflecting this? I do not.
This leaves me in an odd predicament. Do I, like a non-voter bitching about the POTUS, complain anyway? Just forget the whole thing? Or should I write my letter and enclose a donation to back it up?