Statement of Chellie Pingree, President and CEO, Common Cause

On Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Vote to Hire Patricia Harrison as CPB President

Patricia Harrison is the wrong person named under the wrong process with the wrong skill sets for this job. It was a drive-by hiring that should deeply offend anyone who cares about the editorial integrity of public broadcasting.

The president of CPB should be someone with experience in public broadcasting. Harrison has none. The president of CPB should be nonpartisan. Harrison is the quintessential partisan, having co-chaired the Republican National Committee.

The president of CPB should be committed to fact-based and independent journalism. But Harrison’s career experience is not grounded in news, but in spinning the news, first as an entrepreneur with her own public relations and lobbying shop, and then in White House jobs where she defended the State Department’s use of video news reports with a pro-Administration slant as promoting “good news” and as “powerful strategic tools.”

The CPB board should have taken several months, not 60 days, to find a replacement for Kathleen Cox. CPB is a nonprofit, and nonprofits generally develop full and complete job descriptions, which they circulate widely to get the best candidate. To our knowledge, this was not the way things got done.

The CPB should have allowed all members of the board, including those appointed by Democrats, to participate fully in the search for a president. Instead, it appears that a partisan CPB chairman has rammed through his choice for a partisan CPB president.

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