Dear Mr. Zurawik,
We take issue with your characterization of the PBS NewsHour as "some analysis and lots of high-sounding talk -- blue smoke and mirrors instead of original reporting." Our program features original reporting on a broad range of topics, on-air and online.
Over the last 10 days on the PBS NewsHour: Margaret Warner wrapped up a week's worth of substantive, on-the-ground reporting from Lebanon and Syria; Google's Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, sat with Jeffrey Brown for the first U.S. broadcast interview since news of the PRISM surveillance program broke; economics correspondent Paul Solman spoke with Paul Krugman as a part of his continuing coverage of the government's role in the economy; Judy Woodruff moderated a vital debate on proposed cuts to food assistance programs in the U.S. farm bill; Gwen Ifill asked two military legal experts about ways to end sexual assault in the military; and Ray Suarez explored the ethics of organ transplant policies with a medical ethicist. Tonight, we will air the last of Paul Solman's stories in a series about older workers' contributions to the economy.
On-air, we give stories time and depth that other news organizations don't, if they choose to cover them at all. Those include science journalism … high school dropout rates … arts stories (even poetry) … civil political discussion and analysis … and much more. Online, we hear viewers' stories, offer new data and analysis, provide exclusive online reports, discuss solutions to problems and, when necessary, link to insightful stories by other trusted journalists.
The PBS NewsHour gets high marks for trust. In February of this year, Public Policy Polling found "that there's only one [TV News] source more Americans trust than distrust: PBS. " That means a lot to us and to our viewers. Our reporting has earned acclaim, too. Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism has called our international coverage, "The PBS Difference," noting in 2012 that we provided "one-third more coverage of international events over the last year than the media overall." Media Matters took note of our climate change coverage, which included Hari Sreenivasan's "Coping with Climate Change" reporting from around the country, observing that "PBS NewsHour devoted almost twice as many segments to climate change as the other networks combined."