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The BS in PBS

Original Article
Most of us lead such hectic lives that when our publicly funded television affiliate nixed a show on intelligent design, we breathed a collective sigh of relief: one less challenging idea to clutter our minds.


In making the decision to cancel the show “Unlocking the Mystery of Life,” derisively referred to as “creationism” by the rabidly anti-Christian voices that squeak like greaseless wheels in the so-called science community, KNME-Channel 5’s radio marketing manager Joan Rebecchi said “Life’s” producers had not just an agenda but a religious agenda.

KNME’s decision was cheered by a group called New Mexicans for Science and Reason. The Science and Reason folks slammed the show as “religious propaganda” and made it clear we all benefited from their and KNME’s collective protection.

This is censorship. I can understand this from the science group. After all, their name is “New Mexicans for Science and Reason,” not “New Mexicans for the First Amendment.”

KNME, though, doesn’t get off that easy. Isn’t “public” broadcasting – funded to a large extent by our tax dollars, thus the whole “public” thing – supposed to afford us a wide variety of views on a wide variety of issues?

Perhaps the discussion spawned by KNME’s decision to discriminate against shows with a potentially religious theme should lead us to a broader discussion about public broadcasting in general. That conversation might go like this: Cable and satellite television have made PBS as obsolete as a black-and-white console television set.

When PBS hit the air in 1969, much of what it offered wasn’t available. Today, however, stations like the Learning, Discovery or History channels and many more afford us access to virtually all the subject matter PBS has to offer, and then some.

And while some will counter that cable and satellite television access costs money, it’s a myth that PBS delivers its programming for free. We’re shelling out more than $300 million annually in state and federal tax dollars for shows like “Charlie Rose” (name the last conservative you’ve seen yucking it up with Chuck), “Frontline,” “American Experience” and “Nova” – all agenda-less programs, I’m sure.

I think that’s why the blatant religious discrimination KNME proudly practices is all the more galling. We’re a nation rooted in religious freedom. Tolerance in the public forum is required.

New Mexicans for Science and Reason claims to “promote critical thinking.”

So it’s worth noting that at nearly the same time the group and its friends at KNME were deciding what you and I should critically ponder, prominent British atheist philosopher and writer Antony Flew announced that “evidence” indicates a creator-God probably does exist. Flew hasn’t jumped for joy for Jesus by any stretch, but he reached his conclusion by virtue of what he’d learned about intelligent design.

You and I should have had the opportunity to examine the same evidence Flew did. After all, we’re paying for it.