Don’t mess with our PBS
Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 7:00 pm
Governor Romney’s call for the elimination of federal funding for public broadcasting during the recent presidential debate has generated an extraordinary – and overwhelmingly negative – public response.
“Big Bird” was the fourth most trafficked Twitter subject following the debate – after “Romney,” “Obama,” and “debate” – and at its peak Big Bird was the subject of 17,000 tweets per minute.
Americans by the millions went on social media sites to protest the elimination of federal funding for public broadcasting, because they recognize that this funding is essential to the survival and success of non-commercial, educational public service media in America. Numerous studies — including one requested by Congress earlier this year — have stated categorically that while the federal investment in public broadcasting is relatively modest, the absence of this critical seed money would cripple the system and bring its services to an end.
West Tennessee’s local public television station, WLJT, would be one of those stations that would not be able to survive without the federal funding. “Governor Romney obviously does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation” stated WLJT General Manager & CEO Monica Shumake.
Public opinion surveys over many years have shown that the American people consider public media the best investment of federal funds, second only to national defense. And support for public media runs all across the political spectrum.
The federal investment in public broadcasting represents about one-hundredth of one percent of the total federal budget. Terminating this investment would have no effect on the federal budget deficit, but it would have a devastating effect on the essential services that public media provide to 170 million viewers, listeners and learners, including children in low-income families for whom Big Bird and Company have been the lifeline to educational success for 40 years.
Published in The WCP 10.30.12