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.
In all, the cuts would represent the most drastic cutback of public broadcasting since Congress created the nonprofit CPB in 1967. The CPB funds are particularly important for small TV and radio stations and account for about 15 percent of the public broadcasting industry's total revenue.
way to go tomlinson! while you're smashing that awful "liberal bias" at PBS, go ahead and smash the funding for popular kids' shows like sesame street. PBS-kids is the only channel my 32-month-old nephew watches. but if those shows were to go away, he could just watch Kids' WB and get the same educational value from yu-gi-oh that he currently gets from sesame street or between the lions or my favorite boohbah, right?
The subcommittee's action, which came on a voice vote, doesn't necessarily put Big Bird on the Endangered Species List. House members could restore funding as the appropriations bill moves along or, more likely, when the House and Senate meet to reconcile budget legislation later this year. The Senate has traditionally been a stronger ally of public broadcasting than the House, whose former speaker, Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), waged a high-profile but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to "zero out" funding for the CPB a decade ago.
The cuts nevertheless surprised people in public broadcasting. In his budget sent to Congress in February, President Bush had recommended reducing CPB's budget only slightly.
Several denounced the decision by the panel, which has 10 Republicans and seven Democrats, as payback by a Republican-dominated House after years of complaints from conservatives who see liberal bias in programs carried by the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. Broadcasters noted, for example, that the 25 percent cutback in next year's CPB budget was a rollback of money that Congress had promised in 2004.
of course, even though this attempt to gut PBS and NPR is as transparent as susan storm's love handles, republicans are still trying to deny it.
Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), the subcommittee's chairman, said the cuts had nothing to do with dissatisfaction over public radio or TV programs. "It's pretty simple," he said in an interview. "The thinking was, there's not enough money for everything. There are 'must-do,' 'need-to-do' and 'nice-to-do' programs that we have to pay for. [Public broadcasting] is somewhere between a 'need-to-do' and a 'nice-to-do.' "
um... someone should call rep regula and point out to him that "must-do" and "need-to-do" are synonyms and mean the same damn thing. but anyway...
Regula suggested public stations could "make do" without federal money by getting more funding from private sources, such as contributions from corporations, foundations, and listeners and viewers.
yes, the two things that PBS needs to do is sell out to more advertisers (oops, i mean underwriters) and interrupt more programming by having more & longer pledge drives. the audience would love both those things, i'm sure.
But the loss of $23.4 million in federal funds for children's educational shows -- which PBS calls its "Ready to Learn" programs -- could mean the elimination of these programs, said an official at Alexandria-based PBS who asked not to be named because the network still hopes to regain the funding. PBS's revenue totaled $333 million in fiscal year 2004.
The Ready to Learn group includes "Sesame Street," "Dragontales," "Clifford" and "Arthur," among others.