Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

July 14, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

PBS President Pat Mitchell


  • The Public Broadcasting Service is facing challenges on a couple of fronts lately. First, there was the effort in Congress to cut PBS funding. Second, the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides funding for PBS programs, says he is working to correct what he believes is a liberal bias in PBS. PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell visits HORIZON to talk about these and other issues.
Guests:
  • Pat Mitchell - PBS President &
  • CEO
  • Mike Evans - 8th grade teacher, Queen of Peace Catholic School


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," PBS has faced some challenges lately involving funding and charges of having a liberal bias. We'll talk to PBS president Pat Mitchell about those issues. And a select group of teachers, including some from Arizona, recently attended a space camp aimed at making them better math and science instructors. We'll talk to a teacher who went to the space camp. More on those topics, next, on "Horizon".

>> Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by the friends of Channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon". I'm Michael Grant. Before we get to those topics, here are some headlines from today. Four female senators are urging United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to stay on the court if Chief Justice William Rehnquist decides to retire. Republicans Olympia Snow and Susan Collins and Democrats Mary Landrieu, and Barbara Boxer say they will also urge President Bush to nominate O'Connor as chief justice if Rehnquist steps down. A $60 million punitive damage award against a former Arizona Corporation Commissioner has been thrown out by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges threw out the award against Jim Irvin, but they did not dispute a jury's finding of wrongdoing against Irvin, just the size of the award. Irvin was found to have improperly influenced the bidding war for the takeover of Southwest Gas. The case was sent back to the Third District Court in Phoenix. The Public Broadcasting Service, more commonly known as PBS, is a private, nonprofit corporation founded in 1969. It is made up of 348 stations, providing service in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. PBS reaches 90 million people weekly through on-air and online content. Recently, PBS has come under fire. We'll talk to the president of PBS about that, but first, Mike Sauceda tells us more about issues affecting PBS.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Nothing says PBS like Sesame Street. In recent months, the Public Broadcasting Service, or PBS, has been in the crosshairs of critics who claim it needs less federal funding. There is criticism PBS, which consists of 348 non-commercial stations nationwide is not relevant in a television landscape that includes cable TV. Craig Allen is a professor of broadcasting at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

>> Craig Allen:
I think when cable television first exploded in the 1980s there was a lot of speculation that PBS would become irrelevant. I think we see it's very effectively carved a niche in the 500-channel-TV environment. One poll that I saw showed something like 90\% of the people think that PBS has the highest quality television programs, which is significant. And I think in terms of giving the general public a high quality elite taste of television, PBS is extremely relevant and I think that's proven by the fact it has survived with its own unique niche in a television explosion.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The public still finds PBS relevant, according to a survey earlier this year. Cable television ranked most important compared with cable and commercial programming. The survey also found that Americans believe PBS is the second best use of tax dollars behind the military. Also, those questions considered news and public affairs the most trustworthy. Despite the competition that PBS receives from cable outlets offering similar fair, Allen says PBS still has a niche.

>> Craig Allen:
Again, I go back to the kids shows. The kids shows that have come out of PBS, they're paradigms of television. Mister Rogers in an earlier era, Sesame Street, nothing out of cable has produced that. Again, the public affairs shows that are on PBS are nightly attractions. I think to a degree you get some of that on CNN but I don't think with the certainty that you would get on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Then I go back to the documentaries There is a marked higher quality on PBS documentaries. Born out by the research showing 90\% of the people think the very highest quality shows are on PBS.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Another charge leveled at PBS, although it is not a new one, is that the amalgamation of stations has liberal bias. What's different this time is that it's coming from Kenneth Tomlinson, the chair of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides about 15\% of PBS funding through funding from Congress. Tomlinson, a Republican, said he is concerned about liberal bias in PBS news offerings.

>> Craig Allen:
I would say I see evidence of a liberal bias, in the fact liberals have never attacked PBS. That signals to me that something is there. Beyond that, a political bias on television is extremely difficult to prove. I have not seen definitive evidence showing that, and what's really on my mind as far as that allegation is that part of the tradition of PBS are people like William F. Buckley and John McLaughlin, who was advisor to Richard Nixon, Pat Buchanan is on PBS now. It's difficult to make an air-tight case of liberal bias.

>> Jim Lehrer:
Now to today's Senate hearing, Karen Smith has our report.

>> Mike Sauceda:
PBS faced a challenge to its CPB funding in Congress. The House of Representatives voted to restore $100 million in funding cuts by the House Appropriations Committee.

>> Craig Allen:
People that may not watch it, still approve it. For any politician to scuttle that funding. You saw a lot of bluster about the need to cut that CPB funding. And then it was rolled back. I think you're going to see that happen again and again. It becomes a political football.

>> Mike Sauceda:
At Channel 8, a PBS outlet, 10\% of our funding for fiscal year 2003-2004 came from ASU, 10\% came from other sources, 15\% from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the rest, 65\%, from viewer donation. Allen who has studied public broadcasting in other nations, says that in most other countries public broadcasting gets all of its funding from the government.

>> Craig Allen:
It's like a 100 percent, Great Britain, people pay taxes for every TV they own. It's a 100\% tax in some form.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to talk more about PBS is its president and CEO, Pat Mitchell. Mitchell has worked as a network correspondent, award-winning producer, television executive and college-level educator. And she remains very hot in Phoenix, Pat.

>> Pat Mitchell:
Hot or not, I'm thrilled to be here. Thank you very much.

>> Michael Grant:
I was going to ask you this question, but George Will said it better. In today's 500-channel environment, public television is a preposterous relic. 500 channels mock public television as crucial to diversity. It is akin to the body politics' appendix. It is purposeless and occasionally troublesome. What do you think?

>> Pat Mitchell:
I think he is wrong. It's what millions of Americans think. 75\% of this country, 100 million Americans still choosing public television, households that have 300 channel choices. We are number 4, 5 or 6 every night of the week. The cable channels that put forth as option, the public is smart enough to see what is really on the programming. It is not the top quality programming across all genres. Plus, we have a different mission from the media options. They are needy businesses set up to sell something. We are this country's only Media Service set up to use media to educate and inform. And the public knows the difference. That's why they support us as they do, year after year.

>> Michael Grant:
To the extent when PBS started and PBS stations started they were the only one who narrow-cast. And today, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, the History Channel, the Biography Channel, the 5, 7 by 24 news operations running the political gamut from CNN to fox now exist and expressly narrow cast. Can't you make an argument that it was necessary back then, but it's not necessary now?

>> Pat Mitchell:
I disagree with your premise. PBS is not a narrowcast, it's a broadcast. We're the only broadcast that goes from children to news to drama, to documentary to performance. If you look at the listing, Michael, and see what' on those channels you just mentioned I think you would have to agree that they are not options.

>> Michael Grant:
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy ?

>> Pat Mitchell:
Let me see. Discovery's number one program is called Monster Garage. I don't think that's a substitute for Masterpiece Theater. And the Learning Channel featured SUV Rides from a three letter word that I shouldn't say. They do good work from time to time, but our viewers, we have twice as many viewers any night of the week as any of those channels, CNN and fox. The news hour has twice as many viewers every night of the week. Not only is the programming terrific, and across all genres, but again the purpose of the programming is not to just produce great programming, the purpose is to educate, to be used as an educational tool, which it is, and make sure we are putting reliable, accurate information out.

>> Michael Grant:
That's another way to state it. Federal support, public taxpayer support. Got it off and running. It's incredibly successful. Time to cut the cord. Let's raise that additional 35\% from people who are enjoying very much the quality programming.

>> Pat Mitchell:
I almost wish that somebody who proposed we let go of federal funds will tell me where we're going to get the $700 million year after year, because that's a sizable amount to replace. The best part about the way public broadcasting works in this country is that it's a public-private partnership. For every dollar and a few cents, public television stations and PBS producers leverage that 5, 6, 7 and 8 dollars of private money. So it's a great bargain. It's a great value. By the way, if I might add one other thing, it's the principle. Think about it, Michael. We have fine private schools. Does that mean you as a taxpayer don't invest in public schools? We have beautiful private enterprises of all kind, media businesses but don't we want public spectrum that belongs to you and me and every other American? Don't we want to make sure that some of that has public money invested for public service use, as well?

>> Michael Grant:
What if I think like the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, though, that PBS has a liberal bias. If I'm paying for a public park, I suppose the grass is green and I enjoy it. But if I'm paying for an opinion or attitude that I don't support I'm probably going to be irritated because I am paying for it.

>> Pat Mitchell:
The Chairman for the Center of Public Broadcasting centered his criticism on one program out of the 3,000 hours of programming the station distributes every year. The facts dispute his allegations and mischaracterizations. Every single opinion poll, including his very own, indicated that 80\% of the American public from all political perspectives, 80\% of the American public from all perspectives, 80\% perceived no bias in PBS programming. So while we may have programs that express opinions or commentary, clearly labeled as such, "point of view," "commentary", over the whole of our schedule which is the statutory obligation about balance, the American public does not perceive balance, they recognize that we don't belong to the red or the blue or the purple constituency. Over the whole of our schedule we are serving a great diversity of Americans with a great diversity of opinions about all subjects.

>> Michael Grant:
Is there any particular program that you get most complaints about in terms of its content? Certainly Front Line would come to mind as a possibility.

>> Pat Mitchell:
Interestingly we get criticism from both sides. Recently I was ticketed by the right and left in Rochester, New York. But out of these 3,000 hours a year, less than 30 hours last year rose to a level of controversy, meaning more than 200 E-mails or letters of complaints. That's a pretty good record to begin with. You're right to point out that investigative journalism like Front Line is going to be more of a hot flash point. They take on complex issues, but it's journalism. They look at an issue, they don't begin with a point of view, they begin looking at the issue. If they reach a conclusion, we require that they're absolutely confident of they got there.

>> Michael Grant:
It seemed to me -- obviously, disputes over federal funding for PBS have been around for a long time. It did seem to me that this most recent spring seemed to have an intensity and vigor to it that I hadn't seen in a while. Is there anything in particular that's been going on that sort of sharpened that edge?

>> Pat Mitchell:
There's all sorts of speculation. It caught us a bit by surprise. The last attack was in the mid 90s with Newt Gingrich. That was an attack to defund entirely. It was soundly defeated but the next year several lost their seats. The American public, in every way you can imagine the American public cares about their public station, and they are going to fight to keep it healthy, and Newt told me that they miscalculated.

>> Michael Grant:
Struck that from the next --

>> Pat Mitchell:
It didn't come up again. Our appropriations have been inching up because, Michael, we have very strong bipartisan support. If we didn't we wouldn't have appropriations going up through all of these years of Republican dominated Congress. To your question, here's what I think happened this year. Congress is facing the biggest deficits we've had in a long time. The priorities about education and health care in this country, they are growing needs. We all recognize that. And I feel really great sympathy for these appropriators who have less money than they've had before to meet bigger and bigger needs. So what we tried to say to them and I think we were successful in this, obviously we were because they restored a lot of our funding at this point, we said we're not competition to education and health care, we're meeting those the needs. And we are. In every city just like this 1, public television stations are training teachers, training caregivers, providing educational material to classrooms.

>> Michael Grant:
Pat Mitchell, we appreciate your time.

>> Pat Mitchell:
Thank you very much.

>> Michael Grant:
To help improve science and math education, over 100 teachers from all over the world recently attended a space camp. We'll talk to one of those teachers who is from Mesa. First, Mike Sauceda tells us more about the space camp.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The Honeywell Educator Space Academy Program was held June 25-July 1, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. 144 math and science teachers from 17 countries and 32 states participated in the training program, including 8th grade teacher Mike Evans. He teaches at the Queen of Peace Catholic School in Mesa. Evans and the others were selected for the space camp scholarship from among 500 applicants. Evans took part in an intensive 40-hour laboratory classroom and field training program along with the other teachers. They participated in astronaut training exercises, including a high-performance jet simulation, scenario based space missions, land and water survival training and flight dynamics program.

>> Michael Grant:
Earlier, I spoke with the Queen of Peace teacher Mike Evans. Here is that interview.

>> Michael Grant:
Mike, space camp. How did you get picked?

>> Mike Evans:
There was a competitive application process. Folks from Honeywell and the people at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville went through 650 applications and chose 143 middle school science and math teachers from 32 states and 18 foreign countries, and I was one of the ones they chose.

>> Michael Grant:
The title of your essay was, how I would like to spend my time in space camp?

>> Mike Evans:
"The Closest I'll Ever Come To Being An Astronaut." It was an essay about the space program and what it's meant to me and my family.

>> Michael Grant:
You went through astronaut training?

>> Mike Evans:
It was more like a symbolic version of astronaut training. We went through G forces, we did things that you have to do to evacuate from the vessels that go under water. A shuttle simulation. It wasn't nearly as rigorous as Christa McAuliffe went through.

>> Michael Grant:
You didn't get to go in that big plane and get to be weightless?

>> Mike Evans:
the vomit comet. No, we did not get to go on that.

>> Michael Grant:
Was Tang regularly on there?

>> Mike Evans:
Did not have any Tang at all. They try get away from package, they found astronauts like to have food that resembles as close as it can what they eat at home.

>> Michael Grant:
This was in Huntsville, Alabama, right? It doesn't get the kind of attention Houston does and that kind of thing.

>> Mike Evans:
Marshall Space Flight Center is who manages the science that goes on board the shuttle and on the space station. They do a lot of testing of the vehicles. That's where the rocket engines were developed, Saturn 5, red stone arsenal is there. Now you can't get on the red stone arsenal since 9/11. It was part of it; you would get to go to mission ops. That's now closed off.

>> Michael Grant:
There is also classroom training. What's covered in the classroom?

>> Mike Evans:
We did air rockets. Bottle rockets. Regular rockets. We had a couple of different presentations from folks from NASA, from Marshall space flight center on materials we can get to use in our classroom. We got examples of different math exercises that we can do that help teach different math concepts. All of it designed to be used in conjunction with space sciences so that you are energizing those middle school students to think about science and engineering when they get to high school.

>> Michael Grant:
This portion of the exercise obviously being devoted, it's the teacher teaching the teachers to teach.

>> Mike Evans:
and they want us to be wowed so we bring that enthusiasm back to the classroom so that the students get to see it. You bring some hands-on activities back that you have the opportunity then to impart that information to the students so that it's in much or hands-on manner so they remember those concepts better.

>> Michael Grant:
Any astronauts?

>> Mike Evans:
As a matter of fact, we met Musgrave, he was there for a day and a half. Dr. Musgrave has flown on all five orbitals, 6 trips in the shuttle. We got a DVD copy of the materials he uses so that we're able to have that same information.

>> Michael Grant:
We often think of astronauts being like Navy jet fighter pilots and those kinds of things. An awful lot of these guys carry some serious heavy academic credentials.

>> Mike Evans:
He was a brain surgeon and engineer. The man is brilliant.

>> Michael Grant:
So, how are you going to take that back to the classroom? How do you think it impacted what you do?

>> Mike Evans:
I've been working on my pitch to the parent teachers' association for a bottle rocket launcher so they get a little bit of a flight. I'll be working with the math teacher so the kids can see how flight simulations work. I've got a stack of materials that I'll be able to use when we do astronomy and space sciences. I teach 6th, 7th, 8th grade science and so at the small Catholic school I work at in downtown Mesa, all the science they get, they get from me.

>> Michael Grant:
It sounds like an absolutely invigorating experience. We appreciate your being here

>> Mike Evans:
The Honeywell employees deserve my thanks. 50\% of the funding came from the Honeywell employees, they're putting their money where their mouth is.

>> Michael Grant
: Thank you for being here.

>> Mike Evans:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
If you would like more information about "Horizon", go to our website at www.az.pbs.org. Once you get to our home page, click on the word "Horizon" to see transcripts or information about upcoming shows.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Police officers from across the state gather in Flagstaff this week to talk about illegal immigration and what possible role local police should take in the crackdown. An appeals court throws out a $60 million damage award against the Corporation Commission's Jim Irvin. Join us Friday on "Horizon".

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks for being with us on this Thursday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Teacher's Space Lab


  • Fifteen Arizona teachers are among 144 math and science teachers from around the world who will take part in the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy being held at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Mike Evans, a science teacher at Queen of Peace Catholic School in Mesa, and Christopher Sheehan, a science teacher from Madison Park School in Phoenix, will explain how their space camp training will benefit their work in the classroom.
Guests:
  • Pat Mitchell - PBS President &
  • CEO
  • Mike Evans - 8th grade teacher, Queen of Peace Catholic School


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," PBS has faced some challenges lately involving funding and charges of having a liberal bias. We'll talk to PBS president Pat Mitchell about those issues. And a select group of teachers, including some from Arizona, recently attended a space camp aimed at making them better math and science instructors. We'll talk to a teacher who went to the space camp. More on those topics, next, on "Horizon".

>> Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by the friends of Channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon". I'm Michael Grant. Before we get to those topics, here are some headlines from today. Four female senators are urging United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to stay on the court if Chief Justice William Rehnquist decides to retire. Republicans Olympia Snow and Susan Collins and Democrats Mary Landrieu, and Barbara Boxer say they will also urge President Bush to nominate O'Connor as chief justice if Rehnquist steps down. A $60 million punitive damage award against a former Arizona Corporation Commissioner has been thrown out by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges threw out the award against Jim Irvin, but they did not dispute a jury's finding of wrongdoing against Irvin, just the size of the award. Irvin was found to have improperly influenced the bidding war for the takeover of Southwest Gas. The case was sent back to the Third District Court in Phoenix. The Public Broadcasting Service, more commonly known as PBS, is a private, nonprofit corporation founded in 1969. It is made up of 348 stations, providing service in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. PBS reaches 90 million people weekly through on-air and online content. Recently, PBS has come under fire. We'll talk to the president of PBS about that, but first, Mike Sauceda tells us more about issues affecting PBS.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Nothing says PBS like Sesame Street. In recent months, the Public Broadcasting Service, or PBS, has been in the crosshairs of critics who claim it needs less federal funding. There is criticism PBS, which consists of 348 non-commercial stations nationwide is not relevant in a television landscape that includes cable TV. Craig Allen is a professor of broadcasting at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

>> Craig Allen:
I think when cable television first exploded in the 1980s there was a lot of speculation that PBS would become irrelevant. I think we see it's very effectively carved a niche in the 500-channel-TV environment. One poll that I saw showed something like 90\% of the people think that PBS has the highest quality television programs, which is significant. And I think in terms of giving the general public a high quality elite taste of television, PBS is extremely relevant and I think that's proven by the fact it has survived with its own unique niche in a television explosion.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The public still finds PBS relevant, according to a survey earlier this year. Cable television ranked most important compared with cable and commercial programming. The survey also found that Americans believe PBS is the second best use of tax dollars behind the military. Also, those questions considered news and public affairs the most trustworthy. Despite the competition that PBS receives from cable outlets offering similar fair, Allen says PBS still has a niche.

>> Craig Allen:
Again, I go back to the kids shows. The kids shows that have come out of PBS, they're paradigms of television. Mister Rogers in an earlier era, Sesame Street, nothing out of cable has produced that. Again, the public affairs shows that are on PBS are nightly attractions. I think to a degree you get some of that on CNN but I don't think with the certainty that you would get on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Then I go back to the documentaries There is a marked higher quality on PBS documentaries. Born out by the research showing 90\% of the people think the very highest quality shows are on PBS.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Another charge leveled at PBS, although it is not a new one, is that the amalgamation of stations has liberal bias. What's different this time is that it's coming from Kenneth Tomlinson, the chair of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides about 15\% of PBS funding through funding from Congress. Tomlinson, a Republican, said he is concerned about liberal bias in PBS news offerings.

>> Craig Allen:
I would say I see evidence of a liberal bias, in the fact liberals have never attacked PBS. That signals to me that something is there. Beyond that, a political bias on television is extremely difficult to prove. I have not seen definitive evidence showing that, and what's really on my mind as far as that allegation is that part of the tradition of PBS are people like William F. Buckley and John McLaughlin, who was advisor to Richard Nixon, Pat Buchanan is on PBS now. It's difficult to make an air-tight case of liberal bias.

>> Jim Lehrer:
Now to today's Senate hearing, Karen Smith has our report.

>> Mike Sauceda:
PBS faced a challenge to its CPB funding in Congress. The House of Representatives voted to restore $100 million in funding cuts by the House Appropriations Committee.

>> Craig Allen:
People that may not watch it, still approve it. For any politician to scuttle that funding. You saw a lot of bluster about the need to cut that CPB funding. And then it was rolled back. I think you're going to see that happen again and again. It becomes a political football.

>> Mike Sauceda:
At Channel 8, a PBS outlet, 10\% of our funding for fiscal year 2003-2004 came from ASU, 10\% came from other sources, 15\% from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the rest, 65\%, from viewer donation. Allen who has studied public broadcasting in other nations, says that in most other countries public broadcasting gets all of its funding from the government.

>> Craig Allen:
It's like a 100 percent, Great Britain, people pay taxes for every TV they own. It's a 100\% tax in some form.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to talk more about PBS is its president and CEO, Pat Mitchell. Mitchell has worked as a network correspondent, award-winning producer, television executive and college-level educator. And she remains very hot in Phoenix, Pat.

>> Pat Mitchell:
Hot or not, I'm thrilled to be here. Thank you very much.

>> Michael Grant:
I was going to ask you this question, but George Will said it better. In today's 500-channel environment, public television is a preposterous relic. 500 channels mock public television as crucial to diversity. It is akin to the body politics' appendix. It is purposeless and occasionally troublesome. What do you think?

>> Pat Mitchell:
I think he is wrong. It's what millions of Americans think. 75\% of this country, 100 million Americans still choosing public television, households that have 300 channel choices. We are number 4, 5 or 6 every night of the week. The cable channels that put forth as option, the public is smart enough to see what is really on the programming. It is not the top quality programming across all genres. Plus, we have a different mission from the media options. They are needy businesses set up to sell something. We are this country's only Media Service set up to use media to educate and inform. And the public knows the difference. That's why they support us as they do, year after year.

>> Michael Grant:
To the extent when PBS started and PBS stations started they were the only one who narrow-cast. And today, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, the History Channel, the Biography Channel, the 5, 7 by 24 news operations running the political gamut from CNN to fox now exist and expressly narrow cast. Can't you make an argument that it was necessary back then, but it's not necessary now?

>> Pat Mitchell:
I disagree with your premise. PBS is not a narrowcast, it's a broadcast. We're the only broadcast that goes from children to news to drama, to documentary to performance. If you look at the listing, Michael, and see what' on those channels you just mentioned I think you would have to agree that they are not options.

>> Michael Grant:
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy ?

>> Pat Mitchell:
Let me see. Discovery's number one program is called Monster Garage. I don't think that's a substitute for Masterpiece Theater. And the Learning Channel featured SUV Rides from a three letter word that I shouldn't say. They do good work from time to time, but our viewers, we have twice as many viewers any night of the week as any of those channels, CNN and fox. The news hour has twice as many viewers every night of the week. Not only is the programming terrific, and across all genres, but again the purpose of the programming is not to just produce great programming, the purpose is to educate, to be used as an educational tool, which it is, and make sure we are putting reliable, accurate information out.

>> Michael Grant:
That's another way to state it. Federal support, public taxpayer support. Got it off and running. It's incredibly successful. Time to cut the cord. Let's raise that additional 35\% from people who are enjoying very much the quality programming.

>> Pat Mitchell:
I almost wish that somebody who proposed we let go of federal funds will tell me where we're going to get the $700 million year after year, because that's a sizable amount to replace. The best part about the way public broadcasting works in this country is that it's a public-private partnership. For every dollar and a few cents, public television stations and PBS producers leverage that 5, 6, 7 and 8 dollars of private money. So it's a great bargain. It's a great value. By the way, if I might add one other thing, it's the principle. Think about it, Michael. We have fine private schools. Does that mean you as a taxpayer don't invest in public schools? We have beautiful private enterprises of all kind, media businesses but don't we want public spectrum that belongs to you and me and every other American? Don't we want to make sure that some of that has public money invested for public service use, as well?

>> Michael Grant:
What if I think like the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, though, that PBS has a liberal bias. If I'm paying for a public park, I suppose the grass is green and I enjoy it. But if I'm paying for an opinion or attitude that I don't support I'm probably going to be irritated because I am paying for it.

>> Pat Mitchell:
The Chairman for the Center of Public Broadcasting centered his criticism on one program out of the 3,000 hours of programming the station distributes every year. The facts dispute his allegations and mischaracterizations. Every single opinion poll, including his very own, indicated that 80\% of the American public from all political perspectives, 80\% of the American public from all perspectives, 80\% perceived no bias in PBS programming. So while we may have programs that express opinions or commentary, clearly labeled as such, "point of view," "commentary", over the whole of our schedule which is the statutory obligation about balance, the American public does not perceive balance, they recognize that we don't belong to the red or the blue or the purple constituency. Over the whole of our schedule we are serving a great diversity of Americans with a great diversity of opinions about all subjects.

>> Michael Grant:
Is there any particular program that you get most complaints about in terms of its content? Certainly Front Line would come to mind as a possibility.

>> Pat Mitchell:
Interestingly we get criticism from both sides. Recently I was ticketed by the right and left in Rochester, New York. But out of these 3,000 hours a year, less than 30 hours last year rose to a level of controversy, meaning more than 200 E-mails or letters of complaints. That's a pretty good record to begin with. You're right to point out that investigative journalism like Front Line is going to be more of a hot flash point. They take on complex issues, but it's journalism. They look at an issue, they don't begin with a point of view, they begin looking at the issue. If they reach a conclusion, we require that they're absolutely confident of they got there.

>> Michael Grant:
It seemed to me -- obviously, disputes over federal funding for PBS have been around for a long time. It did seem to me that this most recent spring seemed to have an intensity and vigor to it that I hadn't seen in a while. Is there anything in particular that's been going on that sort of sharpened that edge?

>> Pat Mitchell:
There's all sorts of speculation. It caught us a bit by surprise. The last attack was in the mid 90s with Newt Gingrich. That was an attack to defund entirely. It was soundly defeated but the next year several lost their seats. The American public, in every way you can imagine the American public cares about their public station, and they are going to fight to keep it healthy, and Newt told me that they miscalculated.

>> Michael Grant:
Struck that from the next --

>> Pat Mitchell:
It didn't come up again. Our appropriations have been inching up because, Michael, we have very strong bipartisan support. If we didn't we wouldn't have appropriations going up through all of these years of Republican dominated Congress. To your question, here's what I think happened this year. Congress is facing the biggest deficits we've had in a long time. The priorities about education and health care in this country, they are growing needs. We all recognize that. And I feel really great sympathy for these appropriators who have less money than they've had before to meet bigger and bigger needs. So what we tried to say to them and I think we were successful in this, obviously we were because they restored a lot of our funding at this point, we said we're not competition to education and health care, we're meeting those the needs. And we are. In every city just like this 1, public television stations are training teachers, training caregivers, providing educational material to classrooms.

>> Michael Grant:
Pat Mitchell, we appreciate your time.

>> Pat Mitchell:
Thank you very much.

>> Michael Grant:
To help improve science and math education, over 100 teachers from all over the world recently attended a space camp. We'll talk to one of those teachers who is from Mesa. First, Mike Sauceda tells us more about the space camp.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The Honeywell Educator Space Academy Program was held June 25-July 1, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. 144 math and science teachers from 17 countries and 32 states participated in the training program, including 8th grade teacher Mike Evans. He teaches at the Queen of Peace Catholic School in Mesa. Evans and the others were selected for the space camp scholarship from among 500 applicants. Evans took part in an intensive 40-hour laboratory classroom and field training program along with the other teachers. They participated in astronaut training exercises, including a high-performance jet simulation, scenario based space missions, land and water survival training and flight dynamics program.

>> Michael Grant:
Earlier, I spoke with the Queen of Peace teacher Mike Evans. Here is that interview.

>> Michael Grant:
Mike, space camp. How did you get picked?

>> Mike Evans:
There was a competitive application process. Folks from Honeywell and the people at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville went through 650 applications and chose 143 middle school science and math teachers from 32 states and 18 foreign countries, and I was one of the ones they chose.

>> Michael Grant:
The title of your essay was, how I would like to spend my time in space camp?

>> Mike Evans:
"The Closest I'll Ever Come To Being An Astronaut." It was an essay about the space program and what it's meant to me and my family.

>> Michael Grant:
You went through astronaut training?

>> Mike Evans:
It was more like a symbolic version of astronaut training. We went through G forces, we did things that you have to do to evacuate from the vessels that go under water. A shuttle simulation. It wasn't nearly as rigorous as Christa McAuliffe went through.

>> Michael Grant:
You didn't get to go in that big plane and get to be weightless?

>> Mike Evans:
the vomit comet. No, we did not get to go on that.

>> Michael Grant:
Was Tang regularly on there?

>> Mike Evans:
Did not have any Tang at all. They try get away from package, they found astronauts like to have food that resembles as close as it can what they eat at home.

>> Michael Grant:
This was in Huntsville, Alabama, right? It doesn't get the kind of attention Houston does and that kind of thing.

>> Mike Evans:
Marshall Space Flight Center is who manages the science that goes on board the shuttle and on the space station. They do a lot of testing of the vehicles. That's where the rocket engines were developed, Saturn 5, red stone arsenal is there. Now you can't get on the red stone arsenal since 9/11. It was part of it; you would get to go to mission ops. That's now closed off.

>> Michael Grant:
There is also classroom training. What's covered in the classroom?

>> Mike Evans:
We did air rockets. Bottle rockets. Regular rockets. We had a couple of different presentations from folks from NASA, from Marshall space flight center on materials we can get to use in our classroom. We got examples of different math exercises that we can do that help teach different math concepts. All of it designed to be used in conjunction with space sciences so that you are energizing those middle school students to think about science and engineering when they get to high school.

>> Michael Grant:
This portion of the exercise obviously being devoted, it's the teacher teaching the teachers to teach.

>> Mike Evans:
and they want us to be wowed so we bring that enthusiasm back to the classroom so that the students get to see it. You bring some hands-on activities back that you have the opportunity then to impart that information to the students so that it's in much or hands-on manner so they remember those concepts better.

>> Michael Grant:
Any astronauts?

>> Mike Evans:
As a matter of fact, we met Musgrave, he was there for a day and a half. Dr. Musgrave has flown on all five orbitals, 6 trips in the shuttle. We got a DVD copy of the materials he uses so that we're able to have that same information.

>> Michael Grant:
We often think of astronauts being like Navy jet fighter pilots and those kinds of things. An awful lot of these guys carry some serious heavy academic credentials.

>> Mike Evans:
He was a brain surgeon and engineer. The man is brilliant.

>> Michael Grant:
So, how are you going to take that back to the classroom? How do you think it impacted what you do?

>> Mike Evans:
I've been working on my pitch to the parent teachers' association for a bottle rocket launcher so they get a little bit of a flight. I'll be working with the math teacher so the kids can see how flight simulations work. I've got a stack of materials that I'll be able to use when we do astronomy and space sciences. I teach 6th, 7th, 8th grade science and so at the small Catholic school I work at in downtown Mesa, all the science they get, they get from me.

>> Michael Grant:
It sounds like an absolutely invigorating experience. We appreciate your being here

>> Mike Evans:
The Honeywell employees deserve my thanks. 50\% of the funding came from the Honeywell employees, they're putting their money where their mouth is.

>> Michael Grant
: Thank you for being here.

>> Mike Evans:
Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
If you would like more information about "Horizon", go to our website at www.az.pbs.org. Once you get to our home page, click on the word "Horizon" to see transcripts or information about upcoming shows.

>> Larry Lemmons:
Police officers from across the state gather in Flagstaff this week to talk about illegal immigration and what possible role local police should take in the crackdown. An appeals court throws out a $60 million damage award against the Corporation Commission's Jim Irvin. Join us Friday on "Horizon".

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks for being with us on this Thursday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

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