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Feb-14-2011 14:44printcomments

NPR and PBS Under Attack

Republicans are disingenuously claiming that they need to cut funding for public media because of budgetary constraints.

Muppet danger

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - We're only a few weeks into the 112th Congress, and Republicans are already attempting to pull the plug on public media.

In a budget proposal made public on Wednesday, House Republicans announced plans to zero out all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the nonprofit responsible for funding public media including NPR, PBS, Pacifica and more.

If the Republicans are successful, it would be a tremendous blow to the entire public interest media sector.

We cannot allow Republicans to destroy public media.

Tell Congress: Fully fund NPR and defend public service media. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Republicans are disingenuously claiming that they need to cut funding for public media because of budgetary constraints. But what they fail to highlight is that national public broadcasting is remarkably cost effective, providing local news and information, free of charge, for millions of viewers while only receiving about .0001% of the federal budget.1

More to the point, it's nearly impossible to put a price tag on the actual value of public broadcasting.

Public media is one of the last bulwarks against the corporate media where the combination of consolidation and profit-motive has long since shifted the focused to infotainment rather than substantive news. In many rural and less affluent communities, broadcasters rely on federal funding to provide the only available high-quality news and public affairs programming.

Without public media, corporate media monopolies would increase their already large control of what we see on television, hear on the radio or read in the newspaper.

This outcome should deeply worry all of us. The increased accumulation and consolidation of corporate power is a threat to our democracy. And nowhere is this more evident than in our media.

At a time when media consolidation is shrinking the number of perspectives we have access to over the airwaves and when newsrooms are shrinking, we need more diversity in our media not less. And we simply cannot afford to lose what public media brings to the table.

Tell Congress: Fully fund NPR and defend public service media. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Conservatives have longed for any opportunity to defund NPR, PBS and other public media. And with Speaker Boehner wielding the gavel, it looks like they may finally get their wish.

Don't let Congress pull the plug on NPR and PBS! Tell them reject cuts to public broadcasting. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Thank you for defending public service media.

Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

P.S. It's been said that NPR receives 98% of its funding from non-government sources. But that's highly misleading. The government — through the Center for Public Broadcasting — provides a significant source of funding for NPR and NPR member stations.

1"Public broadcasting is critical to our democracy," Rep. Earl Blumenaur, The Hill's Congress Blog, Jan. 20, 2011.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Hank Ruark February 16, 2011 9:31 am (Pacific time)

"Anon:" You wrote "Why should the taxpayer bankroll those who have a different ideological perspective? ? That implies only a single viewpoint, with no guide as to whose views --of many surely occurring in any government-- are chosen for support. It also entirely overlooks fact of heavy difficulties in determining true meaning of even clearest-written statements --as shown right here on S-N every hour.

HANK RUARK February 16, 2011 9:25 am (Pacific time)

JAY: Your narrow view of economic reality dates you about 1920s, IF dollars-alone are measure, how about privatizing all churches? With their faith-driven "investors:" they should make great targets for entrepreneurial souls like you. Then, too, there's the Boy Scouts: Cookies locally given by Moms, sold cheap and often...Can't beat that for low-cost "production" and "employee contribution" via delivery. Cultural gains go to waste on such ignorance and lack of insight and common understandings, Have fun, make sure to collect-yours, and don't trust banks...might get government-snatched at any moment these days.

Hank Ruark February 15, 2011 7:51 pm (Pacific time)

Greatest thing about U.S. journalism is our calm acceptance ("sometimes !" of widely-varying unlearned "opinion" re balanced and openly-honest content...First A-legacy for which we should be highly protective. Jay Stevens makes unsupported claims re "conservative"-side beliefs and values, but gives no sign of working experience in doing story re community-valuable event and then facing participants moments later "on the street". Opens interesting choice for all readers for evaluating source for all-such controversial characterizations. Fortunately --by S-N custom-- mine own background from which to report here on this one, as with some thousands of other stories over more than 50 years in the profession, are right out there in the public eye. Check 'em for yourself; then re-read both of us. For more solid proof in detailed new studies from professional journals, contact me directly via inquiry to Editor Tim...I'm always glad to dialog with any reasonable reader.

Jay Stevens February 15, 2011 8:25 am (Pacific time)

Do more than cut off funding, privatize it. Put it up for sale along with Amtrak, the remaining shares of General Motors owned by the government, the US Postal Service, TVA, Rural Electrification Agency, and other quasi public activities that can be performed by the private sector. The government needs to have a garage sale to extract value from the leeches that have been attached to the taxpayer for too long. They need to take Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae through a proper bankruptcy and cut them loose. Same with FHA. Boehner can announce — “We were disappointed in the record deficit established by the budget submitted by the President today. We take the deficit seriously and have determined there are many activities currently being executed by the government that belong in the private sector. By selling the agencies performing the tasks, we can both eliminate the ongoing drain on the treasury while raising money this year to pay back some of the debt. This is a win-win for the American people.” Another option — issue shares in NPR and PBS and sell them to the viewers and listeners as well as any academic and Hollywood leftists who are committed to the cause. Let them gain experience trying to run a business. Heaven help us if the Republicans in Congress can’t eliminate funding for PBS and NPR. If we can’t make these cuts, there will be no progress eliminating the $1.5 billion annual deficit. If NPR were so good..they would be able to get donations from conservatives to keep the stations open. Conservatives give big time to causes they believe in. If they changed their programing to neutral and balanced the issues..I would contribute. But no media broadcasters should get preferential govt funding--not Fox and not NPR.

Anonymous February 14, 2011 5:47 pm (Pacific time)

Let all media be market driven. When government enters the media arena, then we have undue influence, or at the very least the appearance of influence coming from the dominant political power. Why should the taxpayer bankroll those who have a different ideological perspective? NPR has plenty of assets, and if they are really any good then they will get donations. Of course maybe they will go the way of Air America, and that's fine, because that means they were not doing a "real" objective public service. Moyer would never have made it in the commercial competetive world without taxpayer funding, and that is simply wrong.

Editor: In another story you pose racist views and use the name Howard Kline, I am not surprised you root for the death of  PBS too.

Hank Ruark February 14, 2011 3:58 pm (Pacific time)

Dream of contorted, distorted conservative-side ever since Reagan injection of poisonous attitude towards government has been to destroy any aspect of "public media" at any level --to add to their trophies among major other media channels gained by dollar-diversion and further desperate measures manipulated through major corporate groups and members. We need more-and-better "public media" at all levels from local through international to provide positive and proven/reliable and trustworthy sources for citizen full understanding of fast/changing, ever more complex issues, again, at all levels.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.