Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More problems at the Smithsonian, while PBS waffles

The Smithsonian Institution's troubles just keep on giving...turns out that a few years ago they fired a curator for blowing the whistle on National Air and Space Museum staffers being deployed to repair personal collectibles owned by that museum's director. And if you've been to Washington lately you may have noticed the aged hulking former Arts and Industries Building, which has been closed to the public for three years since pieces of the roof began collapsing. Smithsonian officials are now admitting in so many words that they have no money nor any particular plan for how to get the 19th-century landmark building restored and back in use.

Say I wonder how that search for a new CEO is going to go?

Meanwhile down the street, PBS's efforts to save the new Ken Burns epic (which the network has bet the bank on) may have paid off. Sort of, kind of. Or not -- it's hard to tell exactly. For a little while it looked like network executives might have actually developed spines with which to fend off what Burns rightfully saw as political correctness run amuck. But Burns has now agreed to slap some new footage in there, somewhere, and Latino veterans' groups are mollified, for now.

Chalk it up as one more reminder of why I gave up on public broadcasting networks a while back (and for that matter on Burns, whose "Civil War" series I adored but whose subsequent efforts have gradually descended into self-parody).

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