President Trump has proposed cutting all funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which supports NPR and PBS. Congress should approve, effectively shutting down the two entities.
First, both NPR and PBS are anything but objective sources of information. Both aggressively promote socially liberal, traditionally Democratic ideas, nearly to the exclusion of more socially conservative, traditionally Republican ideas. There is effectively no balance to either entity’s content.
Second, there is no need at all for the government to fund media. Worthwhile media outlets can compete in the marketplace for funding or can attract enough donors to support them as charities. If a media outlet can do neither, it should stop publishing or broadcasting.
In a statement, Patricia Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, said, “Since there is no viable substitute for federal funding that would ensure this valued service continues, the elimination of federal funding to CPB would at first devastate, and then ultimately destroy public media’s ability to provide early childhood content, life-saving emergency alerts, and public affairs programs.”
Well, then, so be it. If that’s as much as PBS and NPR potential advertisers and their current viewers and listeners think of the networks after about 50 years of their programming, they deserve to go away. Any entity that fails to build a real following that would translate into real longevity in a real marketplace, after decades of lead time, doesn’t deserve to exist.
It makes me uneasy to think of the government funding a television network and radio network, anyhow. How about a newspaper? Would Americans support a federal government newspaper or worry over the potential to manipulate the public discourse? I think most of us would worry.
We should worry about NPR and PBS, too. They are organs of the liberal, Democratic elite. Period.
And let’s not pretend that the CPB is all about documentaries and news. PBS also helped addict a generation or two of kids to television and technology by broadcasting the show Teletubbies, which, over the course of decades, mesmerized kids as young as one and two years of age, who clung to the rails of their playpens to watch the colorful characters romp about.
Recently, NPR’s own Scott Simon, interviewing former PBS executive Alice Cahn, about the show’s popularity for twenty years, stated, “There were complaints, I don’t have to tell you, that it was programming that encouraged parents to park their kids in front of television sets way too early, at a time when they ought to be interacting with children.”
That’s what our tax dollars have been paying for. And, guess what, as is the case with most government handouts, no one else would ever be willing to pay for it.
Keith Ablow, MD