Archive

October 2014

OCTOBER 23

Ben Bradlee: A Very Special Person

Loving the boss is not an emotion generally found in the newsroom of a big metrospolitan daily...
 
OCTOBER 16

Brooks & Son: An Unofficial Disclosure

Although I don't speak for PBS and have no power to make them do anything, I'm telling my readers...
 
OCTOBER 10

Et Tu, Harper's?

One of the interesting things that I've observed in my several years as ombudsman here is that among...

 

September 2014

SEPTEMBER 30
'We Hear You' Is Not What Viewers Wanted to Hear
It started within minutes. Dozen of emails from irate viewers started pouring into the ombudsman's inbox...
 
SEPTEMBER 10
Links May Be Deceiving
Last week, a viewer in Eureka, Calif., Charles Cox, sent me a couple of emails that raised disturbing...
 
SEPTEMBER 4

Before and 'After Tiller'

As I was saying last week at this time, I had received more than four dozen emails critical of a program...
 
August 2014

AUGUST 28

The Mailbag: After Tiller, After Ferguson and Other Things

Most of the mail this past week was aimed at a program that has not yet aired on PBS. The 90-minute...

AUGUST 21

August Escape? Not from Pledge
Four times a year, no matter where they live, PBS viewers can count on being exposed to a pledge drive...
 
AUGUST 15
'We Do Not Interrupt This Program to Bring You...'
With things once again deteriorating rapidly in Iraq, President Obama appeared before television...
 
July 2014

JULY 31

The quote in the headline above, one of the more enduring to survive the decade-long U.S. war in Iraq...
 
JULY 24
With the war between Israel and Hamas now in its 17th day, there is no let-up in the mail coming my way...
 
JULY 23
The Mailbag: The Fighting, and the Mail, Go On, As Always
As long as the latest brutal clash between Israel and Hamas goes on, viewers will continue to write...
 
JULY 11
The Mailbag: Fireworks on the Mall and in the Middle East
This week's ombudsman's mailbag had two predominant themes. One was the annual Capitol Fourth concert and fireworks...
 
JULY 2
Warning: Chewing on This May Cause Choking
At first, I wasn't going to devote a column to this. Rather, I was just going to email my research and thoughts to the reader who complained about an online article...

 

June 2014

JUNE 18

I'll get to the ombudsman's business in a minute, but first a personal note. The news has been pretty terrible now for quite some time...
 
JUNE 4

The Mailbag: Chopping Off a Viewer, or Appropriate Response?

Usually, something controversial produces a fair amount of email to the ombudsman, probably reflecting a somewhat larger but hard-to-measure audience that also reacted but didn't write...

 

May 2014

MAY 27

Frontline: Public Television at Its Best

Last month, I took advantage of this space—normally focused on what some viewers feel goes wrong with one PBS offering or another—to pay an unsolicited compliment, as a viewer…
 
MAY 23

The Mailbag: Tough Love Gives Way to Tough Words

I was away for much of the past two weeks at various events, including the annual conference of news ombudsmen, and the mail piled up.

MAY 19

Some Things Are Not for Viewers

PBS made some news last week at its annual meeting in San Francisco, but not the kind that the public broadcasting service should welcome.

 

April 2014

ARPIL 16

The School, the Boys, Abe and Ken

It's been a little slow in the ombudsman's office for the past few days; not much mail, good or bad, from viewers.
 
APRIL 10
Over the course of any month, the ombudsman's office—which is which is composed of me and my able...

 

March 2014

MARCH 27
I was away last week and what follows is a catch-up mailbag on a few things that a few viewers said they did not like...
 
MARCH 7
Like floor dancers, ice dancers or a horse and carriage, as the old song goes, these two go together...
 
MARCH 5
Taking on Big Things: Skyscrapers, the Vatican, Ukraine
First, some news. Regular readers of this column will notice we have a new look. We recently made the switch... 

 

February 2014

FEBRUARY 14
Hold the presses, if there are any of them left operating. Late this afternoon, just after this column was...
 
FEBRUARY 12
Today's ombudsman's mailbag is a brief follow-up to the last one that was devoted to what I described as...

 

January 2014

JANUARY 23
When you make an announcement before a group of reporters at the semi-annual Television Critics...
 
JANUARY 22
This edition of the mailbag contains just one letter. It is a response from Bill Moyers to the Ombudsman’s...

JANUARY 15
The Mailbag: A Lot More on Downton; a Little More on Moyers
As has happened before, when something we think of as sort of contemporary — a gay kiss, a loved one lost...

JANUARY 13
The Mailbag: A Downton Downer and Other Things
Despite on-screen warnings by PBS at the beginning of last Sunday’s edition of Downton Abbey that the...

JANUARY 9
Over the Air or Off the Air?
The powers that be at PBS were dancing in the aisles earlier this week (I didn’t really see this but it was...

Search Ombudsman Archive

ABOUT THE OMBUDSMAN
As ombudsman, Michael Getler serves as an independent internal critic within PBS. He reviews commentary and criticism from viewers and seeks to ensure that PBS upholds its own standards of editorial integrity. Read More >

SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS
Have a comment related to the journalistic integrity of PBS content? Send an E-mail to Michael Getler or contact him at 703-739-5290.

The ombudsman does not replace viewers' long-standing ability to contact stations, producers and PBS.
 
If you have a comment related to PBS website design or user experience, please contact the Audience Services team.

RECENT POSTS
OCTOBER 16
The price of a public platform; when in doubt, disclose.
 
OCTOBER 10
Did PBS pull ads in response to a critical magazine article? The omb explores.
 
SEPTEMBER 30
Viewers reacted angrily to a solo NewsHour interview attacking a presidential explanation.
 
SEPTEMBER 10
From LAT to AP to PBS, was a reporter's work trustworthy?

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