(DCWatchdog.com) – In the middle of the endless national debate over diversity mandates, a Republican Texas Senator has put the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) under scrutiny.
As the Daily Caller News Foundation reported, Ted Cruz, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, sent a probing letter to CPB President and CEO Patricia de Stacy Harrison on Friday.
Cruz’s letter zeroes in on a specific CPB provision that mandates radio and television broadcast networks to adhere to certain race-based policies to be eligible for grants. The Texas Senator raises concerns that this policy could be a workaround against civil rights laws prohibiting race-based decision-making.
Cruz explains in his letter, “The Public Broadcasting Act states that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (‘CPB’) should support telecommunications services’ which will constitute an expression of diversity.'”
However, he argues that CPB has misinterpreted this to mean restricting community service grants to stations based on racial and ethnic considerations in their hiring and development practices. Cruz even suggests that CPB board members are openly discussing ways to circumvent civil rights laws to enable what he views as unlawful discrimination.
The CPB’s Community Service Grants (CSGs) are designed to encourage an inclusive and diverse workforce, supporting community outreach, programming, and content development.
To receive funding, broadcasters must demonstrate practices that reflect the diversity of their audience, including setting annual diversity goals, maintaining a diversity statement, initiating annual diversity projects, and integrating diversity into recruitment.
Cruz’s inquiry into CPB’s practices follows a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that deemed racial preferences in college admissions unconstitutional, a ruling that potentially impacts other areas of public policy, including broadcasting.
In contrast, the Biden administration has encouraged institutions to continue prioritizing diversity.
Cruz has requested that CPB provide detailed responses to eight specific questions about its diversity mandate by December 22. A CPB spokesperson confirmed the receipt of Cruz’s letter and indicated that the corporation will respond as requested.
This inquiry comes at a critical time, just ahead of a CPB directors meeting on Monday. The CPB, established by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, operates under a nine-member board appointed by the U.S. president and confirmed by the Senate, reflecting the significant political influence embedded in its governance structure.
Cruz’s letter signals an intensifying debate over the balance between diversity initiatives and adherence to civil rights law, a discussion that resonates beyond the realm of public broadcasting.