The public broadcasting establishment is in a state of apoplexy over the fact that the Bush Administration has proposed a modest cut in federal funding of public TV and radio. But the Republican Study Committee has gone further, advocating the complete de-funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). This is the position advocated by AIM.
I’m pleased to report that there is at least one public radio affiliate, Wisconsin Public Radio, which believes in presenting both sides of this controversy to its listeners. Host Joy Cardin had me on the show, for an entire hour, to present AIM’s point of view. Unfortunately, the program was falsely advertised on the Wisconsin Public Radio website. It declared, “Earlier this week, Joy Cardin spoke with a guest who said President Bush is trying to kill-off public broadcasting… again. Joy’s guest, today after six, says… good! Guest: Cliff Kincaid, editor of the Accuracy in Media Report.”
The truth is that Bush has never advocated killing off public broadcasting. The modest cuts that were proposed in the CPB budget last year came from Congress. They were eventually overturned, after a massive and possibly illegal lobbying blitz by public TV and radio stations. And these cuts did not represent, in any shape, manner or form, a complete termination of federal funding.
Isn’t it sad-but typical-that Wisconsin Public Radio, which gets 10 percent of its budget from the CPB, would misrepresent the nature of the controversy and make Bush out to be a villain? Cardin said my appearance was to balance an appearance by a public broadcasting supporter who didn’t want the Bush Administration to kill off Big Bird. That’s a misrepresentation as well. Programs like Sesame Street make tons of money. In fact, as the Republican Study Committee points out, “?much of the programming on PBS, such as Sesame Street, could bring in enough annual revenues to cover the loss of federal funding.”
Every time there’s a proposal for reducing funding for public TV and radio, the claim is made that Big Bird or Clifford the Big Red Dog is at risk. That’s designed to scare the parents of young children who watch those shows.
The use of such scare-tactics shows the desperation-and weak case-of those who want to retain the subsidy.
I told Joy Cardin that if she deserves federal money, so does Rush Limbaugh. She didn’t want to hear that.