Last week, Charles "Ben's dad" McGrath wrote an essay for Arts & Leisure on PBS that was about 1400 words of PBS sucks. Looks like Mr. Premium cable is too good to spend Wednesday night with a glass of red wine and Antique Road Show. Whatever. PBS's reaction to the piece is about as controversial as PBS itself.

PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler spends about three paragraphs explaining his headline, "Is The New York Times Still Necessary?" He decides that it is, which makes his play on McGrath's headline, "Is PBS Still Necessary" kind of anti-climatic since McGrath had opposite conclusion.

Getler says his reaction to his employer's public shaming "mixed." Even he has can't really defend Bill Moyers. But he pulls a John McCain by playing the context card. Since McGrath's essay was all opinion but ran as news, it's invalid.

You know, if every newsworthy Times article had a context issue, then haters could really pretend that the paper has become unnecessary.

  • Is The New York Times Still Necessary? [PBS]
  • Is PBS Still Necessary [NYT]