Bush Institute program set to launch for PBS


The Dallas-based George W. Bush Institute, a think tank founded by the former president, is working on a new public television program (in cooperation with Grace Creek Media) that plans to focus on global health issues in addition to domestic policy and education. According to The Dallas Morning News‘ Lori Stahl, two episodes of “Ideas In Action with Jim Glassman” have already been taped, and the program will start airing on PBS and some cable stations in February.

bushHost Jim Glassman, who also heads Bush’s think tank, brings with him a solid, if somewhat partisan, resume. He hosted TechnoPolitics on PBS in the late ’90s, published The New Republic in the ’80s and has long written conservative-leaning columns in various media outlets, including The Washington Post and SHNS.

Stahl writes that PBS viewers have already begun to push back against what they fear will inevitably be idealogically motivated programming. Glassman’s response? The show will fall somewhere between neutral and “absurdly biased.”

Glassman said the new show will not try to promote a political viewpoint. Noting that he’s well-acquainted with PBS standards from a stint hosting the PBS series TechnoPolitics, Glassman said, “If you get something that’s absurdly biased, people aren’t going to watch it.”

At the same time, he acknowledged that the Bush Institute is looking for places to influence the course of civic action, not just generate more debate.

“We’re not going to shy away from the fact that we’ve built the Bush Institute on principles,” Glassman said, noting that other public television show hosts are not entirely neutral. He cited Bill Moyers, William Buckley and Tavis Smiley as examples.

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Andrew Van Dam