Twice this year, public television found itself at the center of culture-war skirmishes. First, in January, conservatives raised a stink when an episode of Postcards from Buster, a PBS show about a cartoon rabbit, dared to show a same-sex couple. A month later, under threat of FCC fines, PBS was forced to edit swearing in a Frontline documentary about American soldiers serving in Iraq. With public broadcasting thus embattled, it seems like a good time to recognize PBS's quiet excellence--from the indispensable nightly NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to a slate of children's programming that's edifying without being preachy or boring. Our venerable local PBS affiliate does its part, too, with Almanac, a lively weekly program offering virtually the only state political coverage on TV, and locally produced documentaries like this year's North Star, about the contributions of pioneering African American Minnesotans.


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