Public Broadcasting Targeted By House

Okay, *this* pisses me off.

From the *Washington Post*, 6/10/05:

Panel Seeks to End CPB’s Funding Within 2 Years

A House subcommittee voted yesterday to sharply reduce the federal government’s financial support for public broadcasting, including eliminating taxpayer funds that help underwrite such popular children’s educational programs as “Sesame Street,” “Reading Rainbow,” “Arthur” and “Postcards From Buster.”

In addition, the subcommittee acted to eliminate within two years all federal money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — which passes federal funds to public broadcasters — starting with a 25 percent reduction in CPB’s budget for next year, from $400 million to $300 million.

I don’t like all of Public Television. I could do without the endlessly repeated Wayne Dyer specials and the Lawrence Welk reruns. Watching Charlie Rose devolve into a corporate lapdog and Hollywood sycophant is disheartening. And while *Boobah* can be bizarrely fascinating, it’s also deeply disturbing on some primordial, lizard-brain level.

However, *The Newshour*, *Washington Week*, *Now*, and *Frontline* are among the last sources of honest news reportage in America.

Republicans want to kill them. Fast. Before another election cycle.

Gosh, what a surprise.

7 Responses to “Public Broadcasting Targeted By House”

  1. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    It is true that, all too often, PBS has been to the Democrat Party what Fox has been to the Republican Party, so the poliical interest is obvious. However, it’s also true that, with the advent of cable and satellite, not to mention Internet-based entertainment, the justification for PBS as a nationally taxpayer funded organization has been disappearing. Of course, so has the function of the FCC, who somehow managed to get its claws into cable and sattelite, and is trying hard to get into Internet as well, without anywhere near the level of justification it had for being formed (the airwaves being limited, and belonging to the public at large, giving the government the responsibility for seeing that they are used in the public interest).

    Something similar happened in New York a few years back. New York City owned a public television station that was broadcast on UHF (this was not the main PBS station, which broadcast on channel 13 on VHF). It was mostly PBS feeds, with a smattering of local stuff hear and there. Essentially, it was determined that, with all the other stations available, and particularly with healthy public access cable, it just did not justify the capital investment, and was sold.

  2. Elayne Riggs Says:

    PBS, an arm of the Democratic party? Surely you jest.

    Fortunately Steve, a number of PBS folks are resisting Tomlinson’s blatant attempts to politicize the public airwaves.

  3. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    I never said that PBS was an arm of the Democratic party. Besides, I always refer to the Democrat Party by its proper name.

  4. Brian Spence Says:

    I kind of inferred the same thing when you said that what Fox is to the Republicans, PBS is to Democrats.

    I don’t agree. My brother, a Republican, agrees with that sentiment, saying that the reason it’s so liberal is because it’s basically on welfare. Ha!

    I don’t think it’s liberal, I think it just makes a lot of damn sense. I see it criticize Dems all the time. But I’m way too partisan to really be objective. I know Republicans that think Bush was asked some tough questions the other night by what’s-his-face. So maybe I’m as blind as they are.

    I don’t really see it happening. Mainly because of Sesame Street. That show’s an institution. All that needs to happen is for PBS to put some commercials of Big Bird and Oscar being homeless, and there’d be an outcry.

  5. Augie De Blieck Jr. Says:

    Nah, Republicans have been trying to kill PBS for much longer than this election cycle. Sadly, they chicken out every time. Don’t worry — state run media won’t be dying out any time soon.

    Citing Sesame Street as the reason we need to fund PBS is about the worst argument anyone could make. My tax dollars don’t need to fund the show, when my niece colors in her Sesame Street coloring book, goes to sleep with her Big Bird and Ernie stuffed animals, drinks from her Big Bird apple juice box, wears her Elmo bib at dinner, and sticks her Snuffalupa–howeveryouspellit stickers all over the place.

    Sesame Street doesn’t need my tax money. They already have it from the free and open market. Capitalism works.

    As for the comparison between FNC and PBS — Fox News Channel is privately funded. They can skew as hard to any side as they’d like. (Honestly, I think the rest of the networks skew so far to the left that FNC’s centrist news coverage only appears to be as far to the right as its detractors claim.)

    PBS is taxpayer supported. They don’t get that privilege. Besides, you already have CNN/ABC/NBC/CBS (making stories up if need be) and others.

  6. Chris Smith Says:

    PBS has been responsible for some truly great moments in American television.

    But I sure don’t want my tax dollar funding it.

    We’re facing what is only the begining of a health care crisis that will explode in the next ten to fifteen years due to the greying of the Baby-Boomers. That is where every spare penny will end up going.

  7. Leslie Storer Says:

    From the June 9 Washington Post artice, “Broadcasters noted, for example, that the 25 percent cutback in next year’s budget was a rollback of money that Congress had promised in 2004.” Am I misunderstanding something? It looks to me like the subcommittee didn’t recommend a 25% cut as much as it didn’t recommend a 33% increase.

    Leslie Storer