CPB Expected to Pick Halpern

Sep 26, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Cheryl Halpern is expected to be named the successor to Kenneth Tomlinson as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting when the Republican-dominated board meets today.

Ms. Halpern, a CPB board member, is a longtime Republican activist and political donor who appears to share Mr. Tomlinson’s belief that public broadcasting has a liberal bias that’s in need of a fix. As a result, critics are asking what difference she will make.

“At her confirmation hearing [to become a CPB board member], she left the impression that she would like to have the authority to intervene directly in program content when she thought the program was not balanced,” said Celia Wexler, VP of advocacy for Common Cause. “That’s a real big concern.”

“We don’t have real high expectations,” John Lawson, president and CEO of the Association of Public Television Stations.

Ms. Halpern has been on the CPB board since 2002 and chairs the Audit and Finance Committee. She previously was on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which has oversight of Voice of America and other government broadcasters, and was a community activist. She lives in Livingston, N.J.

The other CPB board member who has been mentioned as a possible successor for Mr. Tomlinson is Gay Hart Gaines, who previously served as a chairman of GOPAC, a Republican fund-raising group headed at the time by former Rep. Newt

Gingrich, R-Ga. GOPAC is credited with helping Republican candidates win a majority of the seats in the House in 1994.