Art Levine

Art Levine is a contributing editor of The Washington Monthly and a former Health Policy Fellow with the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI). He is the author of PPI's 2005 report, “Parity-Plus: A Third Way Approach to Fix America's Mental Health System,” and is currently working on a book on mental-health issues. He also blogs at The Huffington Post. Follow at ArtL7 on Twitter.

Recent Articles

Electric Boogaloo

It's good guys vs. good guys in the complicated legislative fight over regulating voting machines.

For most political controversies, progressives don't need a scorecard to tell the good guys apart from the bad. One would expect that simple dynamic to apply to electronic voting reform, which Democrats have pledged to address during this Congress. But in fact, the thorny issue of voting machines, in the context of a shared desire for a fair, accurate election in 2008 (following one infamous election meltdown after another during the last few cycles), has rendered the fault lines in the debate over reform anything but straight and clear. Simply put, with Democratic control of Congress making meaningful progressive election reform a possibility for the first time in years, the "good guys" are busy battling each other. The immediate issue at hand is legislation introduced by New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt , and whether it provides sufficient safeguards for voters and ensures the integrity of upcoming elections. (Broader measures to bar deceptive practices, promote election-day...

Bad Reception, Part II

As the House International Relations Committee prepares to open hearings into the operations of the Bush administration's new Arabic-language broadcasting program, accusations of mismanagement, cronyism, and gross waste are roiling Radio Sawa, Alhurra television, and Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) , their nonprofit, government-funded parent corporation. Both the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the State Department inspector general have launched probes of the Arabic services, which are overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which is still chaired by Kenneth Tomlinson, the handpicked friend of Karl Rove who resigned from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) last week after he came under fire for partisan meddling. Now both Tomlinson and Mouafac Harb, the director of Radio Sawa and Alhurra, are expected to appear on Capitol Hill this week to testify about the alleged abuses. They are likely to face hard questions about the relationships...

Bad Reception

While the Bush administration's efforts to promote American democracy and oppose Islamic extremism abroad are often berated, its new Arabic-language radio and TV networks have found an appreciative audience in official Washington. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Senator Joseph Biden have praised Radio Sawa and the Alhurra television network, launched at a cost of roughly $200 million so far by their nonprofit parent, the federally funded Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN). In a recent interview with The American Prospect , Kenneth Tomlinson, the controversial Karl Rove associate and chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) that oversees the U.S. government's international television and radio programming, including the Arabic networks, said, “I stand in awe of what they were able to do.” Tomlinson gives particularly high marks to Mouafac Harb, the smooth-talking, Lebanese-born news director who rules both Alhurra (“The Free One”) and Sawa, for launching the...

Voice-Over America

The story of Kenneth Tomlinson's efforts to impose his right-tilting version of “balance” on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has incited national controversy. But while that tale is well-known, Tomlinson's malign influence on another respected media institution, the Voice of America (VOA), has received far less attention. What's happened at the VOA -- which the longtime Karl Rove ally Tomlinson oversees as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) -- has done considerable damage to the value and credibility of international broadcasting. According to interviews with current and former VOA staffers and e-mails obtained by The American Prospect , under Tomlinson's watch, VOA administrators have pressed the agency's journalists to report pro–White House spin and too often directed them to downplay hard-hitting news in favor of puffery. In June, for example, when the VOA's experienced TV general assignment reporter proposed an exclusive story covering the trial...

Voice-Over America

The story of Kenneth Tomlinson's efforts to impose his right-tilting version of “balance” on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has incited national controversy. But while that tale is well-known, Tomlinson's malign influence on another respected media institution, the Voice of America (VOA), has received far less attention. What's happened at the VOA -- which the longtime Karl Rove ally Tomlinson oversees as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) -- has done considerable damage to the value and credibility of international broadcasting. According to interviews with current and former VOA staffers and e-mails obtained by The American Prospect , under Tomlinson's watch, VOA administrators have pressed the agency's journalists to report pro–White House spin and too often directed them to downplay hard-hitting news in favor of puffery. In June, for example, when the VOA's experienced TV general assignment reporter proposed an exclusive story covering the trial...

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