Is is just my imagination, or has PBS (perhaps along with some other public television organizations in the US) been taking an editorial turn in a decidedly neoliberal direction? Detroit Public TV (i.e. WTVS, or “Channel 56”) just last week handed one of its DTV side channels (56.2) to something called The World Channel, which I have taken to calling “the entrepreneurship channel,” largely based on their first week in Detroit having the lion’s share of the airtime occupied by a seemingly endlessly repeating three hour loop of Free to Choose Media‘s documentary Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives, followed by To Catch A Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks On America. As I write this, DPTV’s main channel is airing Unlikely Heroes of the Arab Spring, narrated by “award-winning economist, author and property rights activist Hernando de Soto.”
In Current’s annual survey of productions in the works for public TV (dated November 25, 2013) we read:
An extended slate of documentaries from Bob Chitester, the producer who introduced Milton Friedman to public TV viewers in 1980, will bring libertarian perspectives on contemporary issues to public TV stations. The Free To Choose Network, a production house founded by former pubcasting producer and station manager, has eight new programs in the works, several of which are to be released for public TV broadcast next year through Chicago’s WTTW and NETA.
World Channel does carry Bill Moyers and Company, so it’s not a total loss. Local, USA‘s editorial agenda seems to be a curious 50-50 mix of multiculturalism and social entrepreneurship. I’m so far on the fence on that one.