PBS Admits Handling Drone Program ‘Poorly’
PBS ombudsman Michael Getler has admitted to a conflict of interest in the station’s most recent special on drones, in response to a campaign by the media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, who were alerted to the issue by Kevin Gosztola of Firedoglake.
In a January 24 post, Gosztola noted that the PBS Nova program was funded in part by Lockheed Martin, a leading drone manufacturer and one of the most influential military contractors in the United States. The program was largely uncritical of the drone phenomena, instead marveling at its technological capabilities. One pilot who was interviewed said he could now fit a bomb through a “window-sized opening with ease.”
While the Lockheed funding was admitted at the start of the program when it aired, neither the web version nor the Nova website gave any indication of Lockheed’s involvement, prompting Getler to acknowledge that he felt “deceived by Nova,” that the situation was handled "poorly," and that the “program would have been much better off without Lockheed support.”
The David H. Koch Foundation for Science also underwrote the program.