Note: The following is an email exchange with Jan McNamara, an executive with PBS, in response to my complaint over Mark Shields’ recent comments made on inside Washington about the president. Some minor edits have been made.
October 31, 2013
President Obama: A loser coach managing a losing team.
To: Jan McNamara, Sr. Director and Sr. Strategist, Corporate Communications, PBS [Public Broadcasting Service]
Cc: Senator Jeff Sessions (AL-R)
Senator Richard Shelby (AL-R)
Senator Mitch McConnell (KY-R)
Senator Rand Paul (KY-R)
Senator Angus King (ME-R)
Senator Mike Johanns (NE-R)
Senator Mary Landrieu (LA-D)
Senator Chuck Grassley (IA-R)
Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA-D)
Senator Mark Rubio (FL-R)
Representative Nancy Pelosi (CA-D)
Representative Marcy Kaptur (OH-D)
Representative Martha Roby (AL-R)
Representative Eric Cantor (VA-R)
Representative Steny Hoyer (MD-D)
The White House, President Barack Obama (D)
Thanks for taking the time to write me back and for clarifying the relationship between PBS and some or all of its programmers.
Washington (all three branches of the federal government) is, both, financially and morally bankrupt. It’s a metastasizing cancer to the city, to its residents and to the rest of the country. Washington has become, both, a source of government “red tape” — a plaque that’s choking the arteries that feed this country, the same arteries that run through every state, county, city and town, from coast to coast. With a national debt of $17 trillion, there are no plans in Congress or at the White House to pay the money back, yet you won’t hear this admission uttered publicly, much less repeatedly, by anyone living and working in the nation’s capitol — not in the White House, not in Congress, not on K Street, not in the media. Our government is broken and our society is dying. We’re a nation of drug addicts struggling to cope with the sins of the past and the pain of the present.
The politics of Washington is a losers version of American football, its two-yards forward and a cloud of dust. This group lacks the talent that led to the founding of this once great country, the creation of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the establishment of our federal government. Today’s politicians couldn’t come close to replicating any of these masterpieces, if their lives depended on it. Sadly, our lives depend on their current and past management, or mismanagement, of this country. The president, his party’s leadership and the Republicans have no vision or a game plan for how to get the ball down the field, across the goal line and into the end zone for a touchdown. They should all be fired. Today, we know, neither, the taste of success nor victory, only incompetence and insanity. The world sees it.
For the past 12 or 13 years, the United States has been on a losing streak. The Washington media establishment covers this blood sport on a daily basis while the country suffers. We’re lied to by our elected officials and then by the media including personalities appearing on PBS every night. They love to debate the day’s cloud of dust, the day’s winners and losers while ignoring the big picture and how we’re trending downwardly into the grave. In Alabama, one of the few things we seem to get right is winning at football. After a decade or two of mediocre performance, the University of Alabama has won three national championships in the past four years while cross-state rival Auburn University won it, in 2010. After the conclusion of the season and the championship, President Barack Obama has invited Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban and his team to the White House to celebrate their success and to receive an honorary team jersey and game ball. I think he may need a lot more than just that.
Given that the president just missed the football completely in the kick-off of his signature health care program, he might want to call up Coach Saban or someone else and get a few pointers on how to become successful, on how to lead and on how to win. He knows nothing about it and it shows. He was unprepared to become president and the bungled roll-out of his Obamacare only confirms it. My original complaint with Mark Shields’ comments on inside Washington, David Brooks among others on PBS, a taxpayer-funded network, is that they’ve become too cozy, too enmeshed in this toxic system of Washington politics as they, their spouses and/or children live off this government tit, drink from the same Washington troft. They’ve lost their objectivity when our country needs honest analysis and conclusions about Washington more than ever. We’re not getting it.
They get paid whether the country recovers from this national disaster or not, which was caused by their friends and neighbors. With decades of covering Washington politics, wining and dining with our presidents and world leaders, it’s easy to forget what their primary mission is and who they’re in business to serve — their paying audience or themselves. Why blow the whistle on Washington corruption and get banned from all the great dinners and parties at the White House and around town? Why make enemies when the money is flowing and fame is to be enjoyed? That’s what’s wrong with the Washington media establishment and their lazy and dishonest comments expressed on the news and on political programs airing on PBS and elsewhere, nightly and weekly. There’s no discussion of moving pass the current dysfunctional, broken-down politics necessary to turn our country around. When will we admit defeat and finally begin speaking the truth? How much longer do I have to wait for you to catch up with me? Do I have to wait until America’s physical death and funeral?
It’s time to move pass this drunken circus and chart a course that gets the U.S.S. America back into safe harbor for its necessary repairs before returning to the open sea to sail. The management of PBS, its team of journalists and commentators are choosing to cover the slow death of our country. Why? It’s time to move on. It’s time to put in a new team of fresh journalists who will say what the current group won’t. It’s time to move the ball down the field and finally score our first touchdown, in some time. It’s time to win a game and get America back on a winning streak. It’s time to clean house. In 2007, the University of Alabama made the necessary personnel changes at the top of its football program when it replaced its head coach for the current one, every sports fan knows the rest of the story. It’s time to clean house at Public Broadcasting Service. If PBS won’t be part of the solution then maybe taxpayers deserve to spend their money elsewhere and defund the network. It’s something to consider.
This year’s Crimson Tide is currently 8-0 and, once again, is ranked #1. As we say in the Heart of Dixie and elsewhere, “Roll Tide Roll!”
500 Lincoln St. B-105
Daphne, AL 36526 USA
My bio: www.tedburnett.com
My blog: www.toxicnationus.com
From: Jan McNamara
Sent: Friday, October 25, 2013 5:53 PM
Subject: Mark Shields and Inside Washington
Dear Mr. Burnett:
Thank you for contacting PBS regarding Mark Shields. Paula Kerger has been traveling and she asked me to reply to you to make sure you received a response before the end of the week.
First, I would like to clarify that “Inside Washington” is a weekly program that is produced by WJLA in Washington, DC and is distributed to local stations by American Public Television. As is it not associated with PBS, I can’t speak directly to Mr. Shields’ appearance on that series or the particular comment you reference. However, as Mr. Shields has been a member of the PBS NewsHour team for many years, I welcome the opportunity to discuss his work.
Mr. Shields is one of the most respected commentators in today, having worked in Washington through the administrations of nine U.S. Presidents. He was an editorial writer for the Washington Post where he began writing his column in 1979. That column is now distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate. Mr. Shields is not a journalist, but is widely sought out for his distinctive opinions and analysis.
PBS NEWSHOUR and the newly launched PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND are part of a spectrum of news and public affairs series presented by PBS, including CHARLIE ROSE, FRONTLINE, RELIGION AND ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY, TAVIS SMIELY and WASHINGTON WEEK. Together, these programs and others offer a wide range of viewpoints and perspectives.
As America’s largest public service media enterprise, we feel an important part of our mission is to serve as a catalyst for discussion and debate through informative programming.
We appreciate your interest in our content and hope you continue to tune into your local PBS station.
Jan McNamara, Sr. Director and Sr. Strategist, Corporate Communications, PBS
From: Ted Burnett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: October 19, 2013, 10:32:02 PM EDT
To: “Paula A. Kerger” <email@example.com>
Cc: Senator John Cornyn <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Senator Mike Johanns (NE-R)” <Mike_Johanns@Johanns.senate.gov>, “Sen. Mary Landrieu” <email@example.com>, Senator Rand Paul <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Senator Richard Shelby <email@example.com>, Senator Jon Tester <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Representative Martha Roby <AL02MRIMA@mail.house.gov>
Subject: Mark Shields and Inside Washington
When Mark Shields, on inside Washington’s latest show, describes President Obama track record as a success for winning back to back elections with over 51% majority while this country is crumbling before our eyes, I wonder why old windbags like him, David Brooks… and their out of touch views put in print aren’t enough. Why must your generation continue to lie to mine through public television using public dollars? You should be held accountable for the dishonesty being advocated on these political shows. I wish you would explain this ongoing disservice.
A daily viewer
Sent from my iPhone
Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved. “President Obama: A losing coach managing a losing team.” by Ted Burnett.