Presidential Commission Co-Chairs Recommend Phasing Out CPB Funding
Other recommendations include reducing funding to Smithsonian and National Parks
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/10/2010 4:55:54 PM
The President created the bipartisan commission to identify ways to improve the nation's fiscal health.
According to a draft of the proposals, released Wednesday, that cutting the $500 million worth of funding for NPR and PBS stations is just one of many "painful" cuts that could help achieve that savings.
Others include reducing funding to the Smithsonian and National Parks, selling excess federal property, freezing federal salaries, cutting the federal work force by 10%, including noncombat military pay.
The guiding principle of the cuts was made clear in the co-chair's statement: "America cannot be great if we go broke," and "The Problem Is Real -the Solution Is Painful -There's No Easy Way Out -Everything Must Be On the Table -and Washington Must Lead."
The commission is made up primarily of an even number of House and Senate Democrats and Republicans, with a handful of industry reps including a former ad agency exec. It is co-chaired by former Republican Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to President Clinton.
Republicans have long argued for cutting back or eliminating funding for CPB, suggesting it is government underwriting of a liberal-leaning media outlet.
"As the steward of the federal investment in public media, CPB strongly disagrees with the co-chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, who propose without justification to completely eliminate funding for CPB and other public broadcasting programs," CPB said in a statement.
"From a yearly federal investment amounting to $1.35 per American, public broadcasting returns six times that amount in programming and services, creating 17,000 jobs in the American economy," CPB argued. "This important investment, through CPB and the other public broadcasting programs, should be supported for the benefit, education and enrichment of all Americans."
Free Press was quick to speak up for noncoms. "Foreclosing on Sesame Street is not the answer to reducing our national deficit," said Free Press President Josh Silver. "It is inconceivable at a time when commercial news is dominated by five-second soundbytes, yelling pundits and little actual journalism, that this commission would consider eliminating funding to one of the few remaining sources of enterprise journalism and educational programming. PBS and NPR are the most trusted media brands in America - and clearly the benefits of noncommercial media warrant more public investment, not less."
A spokesman for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the top Democrats on the commission, was not immediately available for comment on whether he supported phasing out support for noncommercial TV and radio.
Most households that have been adversely affected by the downturn in the economy manages to know what's essential and what's discretionary. Seems to me the only job of the 112th congress is to reduce all spending to within existing projected income minus 10% and then start reducing both income and spending back to essential services only.
mieke - 12/9/2010 9:54:38 AM EST
The government is dangerously in debt.
I am sure you can do your part and suck it up like the rest of the economy, individuals and businesses, have had to.
Tony Coloff - 11/11/2010 6:21:21 PM EST
If you people are insane enough to think for one minute about cancelling funding for PBS/NPR then resign immediatly. Put it on the next ballot and see what the voters say. Then get out of Dodge!
Stop useless spending.
Michael Jones - 11/11/2010 5:25:19 PM EST
What on earth do we pay taxes for? 2 generations of kids have learned to read with PBS kids programs. agree that foreclosing on Sesame Street is not the answer to reducing our national deficit. Nor is defunding the Smithsonian, and the National Parks. You do not have to be a lefty to believe that these are a birthright and a boon not a drain to the national economy.
Laurel Wyckoff - 11/11/2010 4:02:02 PM EST
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