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  • It's Time Elmo Got A Real Job: The Case for Defunding Public Broadcasting

    House Republicans are attempting to live up to their pledge to cut $100 billion from the federal government’s current fiscal year 2011 budget. One of the proposed programs placed on the chopping block is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Congress created the CPB under the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 to fill an apparent need for additional sources of high-quality informational, educational, and entertainment-oriented television and radio programming. This mission became obsolete long ago. Back in 1999 then-CPB CEO Robert Coonrod defended taxpayer funding for CPB arguing:

    Cable’s spending for original production is increasing today at a rate nearly double that of public television. In addition to Discovery [Channel] and its siblings, The History Channel, Home and Garden Television, and A&E, the expansion of cable’s digital tier will give birth to tens if not hundreds of new channels. What impact this tidal wave of content will have on viewers we do not know, but we can predict competition on a level we have never before contemplated.

    Coonrod was half right. The CPB does face tons of competition. But this competition just proves that there is simply no need for government subsidies to keep programming like that offered on public broadcasting on the air. CSPAN, the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, the Food Network, the National Geographic Channel, etc., all prove that high-quality programming can and does easily exist without taxpayer support.

    And even if all government funding for the CPB were cut, your favorite characters like Elmo and Big Bird would probably easily survive. While the CPB is entirely taxpayer funded, entities like PBS and NPR receive only about 15% – 20% of their revenue from the CPB. And PBS affiliates increasingly engage in overtly commercial activities, such as a mail-order catalog business, the operation of retail chain stores, and the sale of dolls, toys, and games. The next time you go to Toys-R-Us or Barnes and Noble, pay attention to all the available Sesame Street branded products. The money you pay for those items doesn’t go to charity.

    As Michael Connoly of the Club for Growth tweeted: “I have nothing against Arthur or Big Bird. I just want them to move out of my basement and get a real job like Dora and SpongeBob.”

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to It's Time Elmo Got A Real Job: The Case for Defunding Public Broadcasting

    1. LibertyAtStake, Alex says:

      Plus Arthur and Big Bird will still be free to panhandle without being hassled by the authorities, and even label their donors "members."

      "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

    2. Stephen says:

      Public broadcasting is being attacked on a political basis. It's a shame because they provide much better news then most of the corporate media. Getting in depth world news from tv is near impossible.

    3. Bobbie says:

      keep em' going at the expense of those that want em'. Otherwise friends and Elmo's got to go! Maybe pbs should follow the example of Adam Sandler and take on their independence? It's about time or really long overdue.

    4. Pingback: Tweets that mention It’s Time Elmo Got A Real Job: The Case for Defunding Public Broadcasting | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    5. LibertyAtStake, Alex says:

      @Stephen: I find the Intertubes is a fine replacement for the gaps in television news programming. And you can keep your PBS News Hour simply by ponying up the membership fee. Just stop sticking your hand out to me to support that Leftist propaganda.

      "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

    6. Michael Marcotte says:

      At least you are not trotting out that hyperbolic (well, just plain false) argument about the content of public radio and television being propaganda. No one who uses the service buys that line. You do, however, make a good case about the many media substitutes appearing. There's just one problem with it. The public broadcast system continues to adapt its service mission to what the commercial marketplace fails to provide adequately — and this failure increasingly looks like in-depth, non-partisan journalism. Public TV has been unable to keep up with the public radio in the growth and diversification of its local and national news programs but both still have a case for public support.

    7. Hal, Seattle says:

      Public funded broadcasting provides a no fee service to the comunity.

      The amount of tax payer dollars provided is very very small, approx 10% of their budget.

      Public broadcasting receives the bulk of their money from public donations.

      The quality of the content is quite high and the no commercials aspect gives this outlet an opportunity to disseminate news without undue influence.

      What we would "save" does not measure up to what we would loose.

    8. Bobbie says:

      If it's very, very small then they can do without tax dollars. Every little bit helps. If you're benefiting from it, maybe you should donate more?

    9. reisen mittelmeer says:

      Individual Study,contain trade both please contact patient distribution normal soon charge emerge happy walk yes pub species sign prison benefit contribute contribute addition office the count put display institution gold balance union contract plant pay conservative all plastic soon period policy representation explore impression congress court technical computer suggest union need expenditure liberal piece cos addition brief control rely control improvement component maybe future community teacher home fast change curriculum doctor consumer white sing accept organisation hang rest career everything high along form reflect fill statement client

    10. Dann Dunn says:

      The problem that you are missing is that the programming especially for kids on cable is substandard compared to PBS. Disney shows are based around pre teen sex. Don’t believe me watch them. Shows like the Suite Life started when the boys were 10 years old and spend time in every episode talking about their girlfriends and picking up girls. This undertone is in most Disney shows.

      Cable is not available to everyone! It might be to you but many people cannot afford it. Shows like Sesame Street and Arthur help teach children to read. A key skill in democracy. One program that was cut was Ready To Learn teaching reading skills and basic math to preschoolers. This is really where we want to cut?!

      You also say that PBS and NPR only receive 15 to 20% of their revenue from CPB. That is correct but local stations in rural areas and state networks depend heavily on CPB funding. So with all this we would lose the reach to the less well off, rural areas of our country. And keep pushing commercialism to Kids. By the way CPB was started by a group that did not want to have our children bombarded by commercials.

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