Tuesday, June 14, 2005

No More NPR or PBS? (But plenty of Fox for everyone)

To add to Cassdems post a few days ago, I think this needs some attention unless we want to continue to dumb down the masses and continue mass media consolidation. In my opinion, Democrats are most generally at less of an advantage and non-corporate people for the most part. The backbone of the party comes from past old union/labor families, minorities, and immigrants who were quite conservative in nature. How in the world are these descendents, who might also be less fortunate than the upper-class and corporations who get tax write-offs for their contributions, going to have a crack at privately funding news and entertainment sources that contain a balanced and objective report? As the media is ever-consolidating, privately-owned, and most likely to be of the neoconservative ideology of late, how will the public ever receive any other views other than the view of the Republican party line and know nothing else? I know what many Republicans say: tough luck. Go for the money and then you can influence with your views. "Free market". That's what capitalism is made of. Social Darwinism at it's finest. In other words, only the strong survive (especially on the global level!). Again, this is an unsaid moral value of the Republican party. Is this how it's going to be? It's not the America I grew up in then.

This is from an e-mail I received from MoveOn:

"A House panel has voted to eliminate all public funding for NPR and PBS, starting with "Sesame Street," "Reading Rainbow," and other commercial-free children's shows. If approved, this would be the most severe cut in the history of public broadcasting, threatening to pull the plug on Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch.

The cuts would slash 25% of the federal funding this year—$100 million—and end funding altogether within two years.1 In particular, the loss could kill beloved children's shows like "Sesame Street," "Clifford the Big Red Dog," "Arthur" and "Postcards from Buster." Rural stations and those serving low-income communities might not survive. Other stations would have to increase corporate sponsorships.

This shameful vote is only the latest partisan assault on public TV and radio. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which exists to shield public TV and radio from political pressure, is now chaired by Kenneth Tomlinson, a staunch Republican close to the White House. Tomlinson has already forced one-sided conservative programs on the air, even though Tomlinson's own surveys show that most people consider NPR "fair and balanced" and they actually trust public broadcasting more than commercial network news.

Tomlinson also spent taxpayer dollars on a witch hunt to root out "liberal bias," including a secret investigation of Bill Moyers and PBS' popular investigative show, "NOW." Even though the public paid for the investigation, Tomlinson has refused to release the findings.3

The lawmakers who proposed the cuts aren't just trying to save money in the budget—they're trying to decimate any news outlets who question those in power. This is an ideological attack on our free press.

Talk about bad timing. Every day brings another story about media consolidation. Radio, TV stations and newspapers are increasingly controlled by a few massive corporate conglomerates trying to maximize profits at the expense of quality journalism. Now more than ever, we need publicly funded media who will ask hard questions and focus on stories that affect real people, instead of Michael Jackson and the runaway bride.

As the House and Senate consider this frightening effort to kill public broadcasting, they need to hear from its owners—you.


1. "Public Broadcasting Targeted By House," Washington Post, June 10, 2005

2. "CPB's 'Secrets and Lies': Why the CPB Board Hid its Polls Revealing Broad Public Support for PBS and NPR," Center for Digital Democracy, April 27, 2005

3. "Republican Chairman Exerts Pressure on PBS, Alleging Biases," New York Times, May 2, 2005

Please, either go to the MoveOn website or contact your congresspeople directly. I listen to NPR everyday on AM920 out of Purdue, West Lafayette. As my child may possibly be going to Purdue next year, it has been nice to keep up on all the things going on in Lafayette and on the Purdue campus. I hear all kinds of different views and stories than what I don't hear on mainstream radio & TV news. It also beats the heck out of having to listen to Rush Limbaugh everyday on our local station. Air America cannot even be picked up in this area. The closest pick-up on the airways begins around the Kokomo/Marion areas coming from Ohio. Regarding NPR, it would be very sad if this branch of education for the masses was stopped because it couldn't keep up with funding. This is like killing the symphony and the ballet. Believe it or not, some of us still prefer the "symphony and the ballet" over reality TV and Elimi-date. On PBS, we would miss out on shows like NOVA (my favorite) and many Indiana-based political talk shows that keep me up-to-date on regional issues.

***Note: This may not reflect the views of all others within the party. This is my opinion only as most of my posts will be. The Democratic party tends to be a free-thinking party with diverse views and we do not all tow the party line if we think it's wrong.

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