Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Public Broadcasting Under Fire

Public Broadcasting Targeted By House of Representatives:

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 try to take solace in the fact that Newt Gingrich tried much the same thing ten years ago, but I find that my fears are a bit more resilient than my hopes.

I'll admit that I don't really understand this move. I understand that some charge that PBS and NPR have a "liberal" bias (which I don't personally accept; a fidelity to standards of journalism and to the truth, yes, but not a bias), but even conservative households watch Sesame Street. Is a bit of political capital, and cutting government spending by a measly 400 million, really worth putting Elmo and Big Bird on the chopping block? The mind boggles.

If you think that a touch of liberal bias is worth the continued existence of Sesame Street, which receives a considerable amount of its funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, write to your representatives today and tell them so. If you don't know the names and addresses of your representatives, you can search for them on the House of Representatives website and the Senate website.

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