Keeping the Public in Public Broadcasting

Friday, March 11, 2011


Around the same time that Senator DeMint wrote his op-ed in the Examiner, New America Foundation president Steve Coll wrote one in the Washington Post, arguing that the U.S. should rethink much of its media policy, starting with an increase in funding for public media. After all, says Coll, PBS and NPR were created to raise the level of public discourse.

Comments [6]


A rather callow yet companionable discourse. imo

Mar. 14 2011 05:13 PM
Laurie from Princeton NJ

Have you ever heard "He who pays the piper calls the tune"? Freedom from government money is freedom from its control. If that means trouble for the smaller stations far from the big media markets, then --golly-- maybe some of the fund-drive powerhouse stations could share the wealth. WNYC, are you listening? But PLEASE don't try the argument (as Ira Glass just said on On The Media) that "NPR *IS* Mainstream media." If it were, I wouldn't be listening and pledging.

Mar. 13 2011 10:50 AM
NeoAmsterdam from NYC

If Congress is so hell-bound to stop funding, then let's do so once and for all - starting with Worldnet, the Voice of America, and Radio Marti. Compared to NPR, PSB, and the CPB, the aforementioned produce no content whatsoever for public consumption (and thus of zero public interest). Framed that way, it's a complete waste of taxpayer money. Yank the first three and you've saved millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, if Congress wants to promote good programming with public monies (and "de-fund" bad broadcasting), then all they have to do is listen to *one* membership drive to discover the solution: match every dollar that the public pledges. That way politicians won't look like they're giving away money to "those crazy lefties" while being able to claim "we're promoting the public interest".

...but knowing Congress, this is too good a solution to ever come true.

Mar. 13 2011 10:36 AM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

To Matt Matson, for the record, NPR went on air in 1971, 40 years ago. The Democratic Party had controlled the White House for 28 of the previous 40 years. It had controlled Congress for all but four of the previous 40 years.

By contrast, since 1971, the Republicans have had the White House for 26 of the subsequent 40 years. They have had a majority in the Senate for 18 of those years, the Democrats for 22. The GOP has had a House majority for 12 of those years.

In other words, the party that benefits from 'systematically' from an uninformed public and misleading campaigning has been far more successful in the 40 years of NPR than it was in the previous 40 years.

Mar. 12 2011 10:37 PM
Dan Fulton from Hoover, Alabama

Many of us do not subscribe to TV or radio services.
Sometimes budgets, especially right now, simply do not allow us to pay for services.
For us, Public Broadcasting provides valuable
informational and educational programming. On TV, Big Bird has helped many of us to grow up; on radio, Dianne Rehm has helped many
of us to cope positively with growing old.
If we accept that healthy, sound government and public policy requires an informed, educated electorate,
then we must support the public media that strives
as a primary mission and function
to inform and educate.

Mar. 12 2011 04:51 PM
Matt Matson from Oakland, California

The argument that all politicians benefit from thoughtful, reasoned discourse and, therefore, should support public broadcasting is flawed: It is obvious that many politicians benefit from a confused, misinformed public and many politicians use misleading, distracting advertisements and to their advantage.

It is possible that one party would systematically benefit from an uninformed public and misleading campaigning. That party might also lead a fight to eliminate funding for journalism with an interest in informing viewers.

Mar. 12 2011 01:50 PM

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