Fred Mann was appointed in 2004 by the Chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Kenneth Tomlinson, "to keep track of the guests' political leanings on one program, 'Now with Bill Moyers'," the New York Times reported in May 2005.  Tomlinson's hiring of Mann was not disclosed to the board of the CPB at the time.
Mann had worked for the National Journalism Center (NJC) for 20 years to 2004. The NJC's Mark LaRochelle told the New York Times that Mann's responsibilities there had been to run the job bank, internship program and alumni relations for the center. "While Mr. Mann worked at the National Journalism Center, he helped place interns in the Washington bureau of Reader's Digest," the New York Times reported. Tomlinson was the editor in chief of Reader's Digest at the time and it was from that that the two knew each other. 
In June it was reported that the Inspector-General of the CPB was investigating the payment of $14,170 to Mann, authorised personally by Tomlinson, for contracted work to monitor the Moyers program.
Other SourceWatch resources
- Stephen Labaton, Lorne Manly and Elizabeth Jensen, "Republican Chairman Exerts Pressure on PBS, Alleging Biases," New York Times, May 2, 2005.
- "Squelching Public Broadcasting", New York Times, Editorial, June 15, 2005.
- Stephen Labaton, "Lobbyists' Role for Public TV Is Investigated", New York Times, June 16, 2005.
- Stephen Labaton, "Steep Cut Proposed for Public Broadcasting", New York Times, June 17, 2005.
- Stephen Labaton, "Public Broadcasting Monitor Had Worked at Center Founded by Conservatives", New York Times, June 21, 2005.
- Michael Winship, "Public Television's Mystery Mann", TomPaine.com, June 21, 2005.