The president’s new budget would slash funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by 25 percent. CPB is the major financial backer of PBS, and a cut of this size would be certain to cripple the public network’s ability to provide the high-quality television programming it is known for.
The hypocrisy of the Republican Party when it comes to media can be almost comical in its brazenness. The same Republicans who lambast the entertainment industry as anti-family frequently try to do away with public broadcasting and, ultimately, programs like “Sesame Street,” while celebrating market forces and the media conglomerates they create, which, in turn, pump out more and more sexually charged products in service to the bottom line.
President Bush is reopening the fight over government support of public television, unveiling a 2007 government fiscal year budget that would cut federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by nearly 25 percent.
There was some confusion on how to tally the exact cut, but public TV and congressional sources said at least $114 million of the $460 million CPB budget for the fiscal year that starts in October would be cut. The Association of Public Television Stations said the total impact could be $145 million when cuts in related programs are added, including a program to upgrade radio station satellite facilities.
“It’s more of the same,” said John Lawson, president and CEO of the Association of Public Television Stations, noting previous requests to cut funding for public TV, most of which were overturned by Congress.
U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s telecom panel, ripped the cuts.
“In a 24-7 television world with content often inappropriate for young children, the public broadcasting system represents an oasis of quality, child-oriented educational programming,” he said. “We owe America’s children and their parents this free, over-the-air resource.”