Apropos this previous post of ours, looks like PBS has finally developed some balls, is mad as hell, and isn't going to take it anymore.
"The situation with the FCC is tremendously concerning," [said new President and Chief Executive Officer of PBS, Paula Kerger]. "And in fact, over the last three weeks, I have met now with each commissioner to talk to them about our concerns because I think that there is a great deal of misunderstanding. I think for many of the commissioners, they think that this is a very clear issue and obviously have not thought through the ramifications for — certainly for our work.
"As you know, there is a case pending now with our station in San Mateo around the broadcast of Martin Scorsese's 'The Blues.' We are filing, I think next week, Aug. 2, an amicus brief. And as part of that ruling — as part of that case, we have provided additional legal support to KCSM. We think that this is a tremendously important issue.
"It is an issue because of free speech. It is an issue because our filmmakers deserve to be able to tell their stories and tell them well. And we, as an industry, are very concerned. When you have stations whose operating budgets in some cases are only a couple million dollars, even, frankly, the old fines, once you factor in all the legal work and so forth, were daunting. The fines now would put stations out of business, and we cannot allow that to happen.
"And I am hoping that not only will we be able to have better discussions with the FCC about this issue so that they understand that we are not talking about doing sensationalist work, we are not talking about doing salacious work, we are just trying to do good work. And from my perspective, I am hoping that not only can we make the case for them, but we need to do a better job — and frankly, you can be helpful to us in doing a better job — in letting the American people know that this is not just about Janet Jackson, that this is about filmmakers that have powerful stories that now are not being allowed to tell those stories on public television or on broadcast television."
Kerger said that the TV industry as a whole is rising up to fight this. But what's most important is that, by her words, she indicated that PBS would no longer be a wallflower in the culture wars. And that, more than anything we heard in two days, was the most compelling thing.
Said Kerger: "I think that we certainly have a couple cases coming up that I hope we as an industry will stand together and be bold, and sort of 'Bring it on.'"
Bravo! And a challenge and fight, if it comes to that, in which PBS's rightful place is as natural spearhead.