CPB Board Announces Harrison Appointment to President

Jun 23, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Despite strong opposition from watchdog groups and key congressional Democrats, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board on Thursday announced the appointment of Patricia de Stacy Harrison as CPB’s president and CEO.

The candidacy of Ms. Harrison, who is currently a State Department official, is particularly controversial because she was formerly co-chairman of the Republican National Committee. She was also the favorite of CPB Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson. Her appointment came Wednesday night.

Mr. Tomlinson has come under vigorous attack from Democrats and watchdog group representatives who allege he has been trying to reshape public broadcasting to make it friendlier to Republican concerns.

Jeff Chester, executive director of the watchdog Center for Digital Democracy, said that Ms. Harrison’s appointment was tantamount to turning public broadcasting over to the CIA. “This contributes to an unprecedented crisis in public broadcasting,” Mr. Chester said. “The public must demand that Tomlinson and Harrison be dismissed.”

In a statement Mr. Tomlinson said that the search committee on which he served reviewed 23 prospective candidates over the course of four committee meetings and that the CPB board interviewed four finalists. “I am pleased to join with the board and all stakeholders in the future success of public broadcasting,” Ms. Harrison said in a statement.