Who is Warren Bell?

WASHINGTON, DC – The White House this summer quietly nominated three people to serve on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the non-partisan body that distributes federal funds to public broadcasters and has faced criticism in recent years for its secrecy and ideological bent.

One of them has said the following:

I would “reach across the aisle and hug Nancy Pelosi . except this is a new shirt, and that sort of thing leaves a stain.”

“I support a woman’s right to choose what movie we should see, but not that other one. I am on the Right in every way.”

On his practice of using TiVo to block condom ads on television he does not want his children to see: “A little vigilance is all it takes – well, that and a couple hundred bucks for a TiVo.Sorry, poor people, your kids are going to be asking you awkward questions about condoms.”

The nominee who made these unfortunate remarks is Warren Bell, who would replace another embattled former CPB member, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, who was found by the CPB inspector general to have made improper hires at CPB and tampered with programming decisions. (Late last month the State Department Inspector General found that Tomlinson, in his role as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the Voice of America, hired a friend to do consulting work for the agency without having the legal authority to do so, and ran his horse racing operation out of his government office.)

Bell, a writer and producer of situation comedies and a columnist for National Review Online, has no discernable background in public broadcasting, education, or public service. But he has left a trail of inflammatory comments in his wake. His extreme partisanship makes him an inappropriate candidate for the board of the CPB, an institution charged with insulating public broadcasting from partisanship and political pressures.

Common Cause today is asking its members to contact Senators on the Commerce Committee and ask them to oppose Bell’s nomination to the CPB. Common Cause also is sending its members a brief white paper on Bell.

Bell’s unsuitability for this job stands out in contrast to the other two nominees to fill vacancies on the CPB board, who have distinguished careers and a track record of public service. David Pryor is a former U.S. Senator and governor of Arkansas who has been a professor of political science at Harvard University. Chris Boskin is a successful publishing executive who serves on the board of KQED-FM/TV in San Francisco, and is active in many philanthropic causes, including the Laura Bush Foundation for American Libraries, and the School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the wife of Michael Boskin, who served as head of the Council of Economic Advisors under former President George H.W. Bush.

“Public broadcasting is just beginning to recover from the missteps of Ken Tomlinson,” said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. “The CPB cannot afford to replace Tomlinson with Warren Bell. He is the wrong man in the wrong job at the wrong time.”

Click here to read more about Warren Bell: http://www.commoncause.org/WhoIsWarrenBell

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