Shocker: Recipient of PBS funds thinks PBS should receive taxpayers funds
In his "documentary" An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore (ironically, in my opinion) quotes Upton Sinclair in saying that "It's difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
I'm reminded of that again today.
Over the course of a year, 91% of all U.S. television households -- 236 million people -- tune into their PBS-member station. Federal funding accounts for about 15% of the money necessary to make public broadcasting possible. For every dollar in federal funding invested in local stations, they raise an additional $6 on their own, including contributions from millions of people who voluntarily support their community-based work. It's such a tiny, tiny part of the federal budget, approximately 1/100th of 1%, that you have to question, why pick on that?Listen, I've loved a lot of Ken Burns' work. And I've supported it, with my dollars, that I've chosen to allocate towards copies of several of his films. And The Civil War is a seminal achievement.
In an increasingly difficult world to navigate, with multiple media outlets and a constant onslaught of viewpoints, PBS remains our shared space, one where we can experience the best in arts and education, public affairs, history, science and journalism.
It is a place where we can all feel at home.
And yes, the PBS portion of the federal budget hardly even qualifies as a rounding error.
All that said, in a world with 500 cable channels, including several dedicated to history and documentaries, if we can't even cut back on a luxury item like PBS, how can we even begin to think that we're serious about our budget?
I tweeted the following on Friday, as I saw that the President, and many of his supporters, seemed to think that Governor Romney's comments in the debate were a political plus for the President.
Fact: Sesame Street sells a ton of merchandise, does not NEED taxpayer supportSeriously, if the suggestion that we cut even something as self-evidently unnecessary as PBS generates enormous resistance, how do we start?
Fact: PBS support in the Federal government is essentially a rounding error to the real financial crisis - eliminating is purely symbolic
Fact: PBS is a luxury frill in a budget as far out of whack as ours is. Even if the cut is purely symbolic, it's a good symbol...
And what does it say about Barack Obama that, with all the momentous issues facing the next President, he chooses to spend a week campaigning in defense of spending taxpayer dollars on a childrens' television show that's wildly profitable even without them?