The latest from the Congressional faction working to eliminate funding for public radio and tv is a proposal to allow money to go to stations but prohibit the use of that money for the purchase or production of programs. Kind of like telling the local library they can have some money but they cannot buy books with it; or, giving money to the local fire fighters and telling them they cannot use it to buy a firetruck or hose.
The legislation that established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 1967, the Public Broadcasting Act, was very clear about what Congress wanted the public funds used for: the production or purchase of programs.
Now, if the faction proposing this 180 degree reversal in public policy has its way, we could use federal dollars here at NCPR to, hmm, buy light bulbs and fundraising supplies. But we could not pay any of our news reporters or our production manager; we could not put gas in their cars so they could go cover a story; we could not buy that subversive programming from NPR, like Morning Edition, which tens of millions (apparently subversive) Americans tune into each week. Or, heaven forbid, the horribly partisan work coming from NPR like this:
Doesn’t Congress have something else to worry about? I guess not. After all, it’s not like we’re fighting in Afghanistan or trying to help an ally get back on its feet after one of the worst earthquake/tsunami hits in recorded history. It’s not like Congress could do anything about the millions of unemployed Americans trying to find jobs or the country’s need for long-term energy solutions.
No, Congress is right to worry about the $450 million going to all of public broadcasting each year. But look out US army: Congress is still spending $500 million on military music bands and you can be sure they’ll be telling you to either use that money for paper clips rather than instruments or, once they settle the terrible situation in public broadcasting, what songs you can play in your concerts.
Tags: public broadcasting