A new, four-part PBS television show airing this month called “America Revealed” is sponsored by the Dow Chemical company, whose products and commercial interests the program showcases. The arrangement leaves PBS open to charges that it is serving as a cheerleader for big industry in exchange for cash. The first episode aired on April 11, and was about large-scale agriculture — an area in which Dow is a leading business. The show examined the corn industry and portrayed controversial genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in a positive light. Dow manufactures genetically-modified seeds. Similar, self-serving segments follow in other areas in which Dow also has commercial interests: Infrastructure/Transportation, Energy and Consumer/lifestyle. Part two of the series, titled “Nation on the Move,” was about transportation, the third segment is titled “Electric Nation” and the final episode is about manufacturing in America. Under PBS’s underwriting guidelines, that describe conflicts in the areas of editorial control, public perception and commercialism, the series should never have made it onto their network, since it fails all of their stated tests regarding acceptability. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) is urging PBS viewers to contact PBS and ask why Dow Chemical has been permitted to fund a series about issues that are so closely linked to Dow’s commercial interests.
Source: FAIR, April 23, 2012