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News :: Politics
GOP takes aim at PBS ... again
09 Jun 2006
The GOP is once again attacking one of the last bastions of jenuine television journalism by proposing to slash $115 out of the budget for PBS. They want to silence programs like Frontline and Now from the airwaves that have exposed their corruption and lies. This part of their ongoing campaign to silence independant voices in the media. Voice your objections to your House Representatives.
GOP takes aim at PBS funding
House panel backs budget reductions

By Rick Klein, Globe Staff | June 8, 2006

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans yesterday revived their efforts to slash funding for public broadcasting, as a key committee approved a $115 million reduction in the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that could force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs.

On a party-line vote, the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees health and education funding approved the cut to the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes money to the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. It would reduce the corporation's budget by 23 percent next year, to $380 million, in a cut that Republicans said was necessary to rein in government spending.

The reduction, which would come in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, must be approved by the full Appropriations Committee, and then the full House and Senate, before it could take effect. Democrats and public broadcasting advocates began planning efforts to reverse the cut.

A similar move last year by Republican leaders was turned back in a fierce lobbying campaign launched by Public Broadcasting Service stations and Democratic members of Congress, in a debate that was colored by some Republicans' frustration with what they see as a liberal slant in public programming.

Still, Republicans say they remain adamant that public broadcasting cannot receive funding at the expense of healthcare and education programs.

Republicans are looking for ways to save taxpayers' dollars, amid fiscal conservatives' concerns over the budget deficit.

``We've got to keep our priorities straight," said Representative Ralph Regula , an Ohio Republican who is chairman of the appropriations panel that approved the cut. `` You're going to choose between giving a little more money to handicapped children versus providing appropriations for public broadcasting."

Democrats accused Republicans of trying to gut a bastion of children-oriented television to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy that have been backed by the Bush White House.

``Dick Cheney and the Republicans have decided to go hunting for `Big Bird' and `Clifford the Big Red Dog' once again," said Representative Edward J. Markey , a Malden Democrat who led the successful effort to reverse the cuts last year. ``PBS is right at the top of their hit list -- always has been and always will be, until they can destroy it."
Most of the savings would come by eliminating subsidies for educational programs and grants for a number of technological upgrades.

Jan McNamara , a PBS spokeswoman, said the digital upgrade would have to be funded with money that is now being used for other programs, forcing almost all areas of public broadcasting to feel a pinch.

Paula Kerger , PBS's president and chief executive, said in a statement that the cuts would force the network to ``drastically reduce the programming and services public television and public radio can provide to local communities."

The literacy television program ``Ready to Learn" would be eliminated, she said, as would the online teachers' resource ``Ready to Teach."

The cuts could force smaller public-radio stations in rural areas -- which rely almost exclusively on federal money for operations -- to close altogether, said Kevin Klose , NPR's president. ``The impact of today's decision could resonate in every community in America," Klose said.

John Lawson , president of the Association of Public Television Stations, said Republican leaders are contradicting their own goal statements by seeking to cut funding for public broadcasting on the day the House voted to increase fines for indecent television content. ``These cuts are targeted to inflict maximum damage," Lawson said. ``I guess we'll have to start ringing phones on [Capitol] Hill again."

The cuts are included in a $142 billion spending bill covering domestic social programs in health, education, and labor. Even with the cuts to public broadcasting, the bill would spend $1 billion more in total than is being spent this year on those programs, and $4 billion more than President Bush had requested for those areas of spending. Student loans and research grants to local hospitals are among the areas that would see funding boosts.

The same appropriations subcommittee called last year for an even more drastic cut of $223 million from public broadcasting programs. At the time, Republicans attacked the PBS for programming they said represented out-of-the-mainstream viewpoints, highlighting in particular a ``Postcards From Buster" episode that featured lesbian couples and their children in Vermont.

But, in a defeat for House leaders, 87 Republicans joined unanimous Democrats in bucking an attempt to cut funding from the stations.

Markey expressed confidence that supporters of public broadcasting would have more than enough votes to stop a cut again this year. Their arguments will carry particular force in an election year in which moderate Republicans fear being portrayed as callous to the demands of their constituents, he said.

Regula also seemed resigned to seeing that sequence of events repeat itself, though he maintained that he was right ``on principle."

``They've got a bigger megaphone than I do," he said. ``They'll trot out Elmo and Mickey Mouse and Lord knows who else, and I'll be out there kind of by myself."

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Re: GOP takes aim at PBS ... again
09 Jun 2006
I really used to like PBS. But in the past 10 yrs it sucks. British comedy reruns and fairly commericial concert fare. If PBS isnt going to feature regional theatre, music forms that aren't on commercial radio or films that arent on HBO or ABC, who needs it?

Just because the word "public" is in the title doesn't make it any good. I'd rather the subsidies go to schools to pay for kids to go to local theatre and concerts of jazz, folk or classical. It really has become an upper middle class lowbrow parody on what culture is supposed to be. You want culture, you gottta pay the big bucks for the symphony or theater or hope you live near a college that is doing creative things.
Re: GOP takes aim at PBS ... again
09 Jun 2006
Rockhead says "You want culture, you gottta pay the big bucks for the symphony or theater or hope you live near a college that is doing creative things. "

I suppose you think FOX channel reality trash and pseudo-news is culture? Like others say ... you really are an idiot. PBS brings exactly those programs (symphony, theatre, concerts) to people .... for free. Take your neurotic need for attention by trying to annoy people somewhere else, like a therapsts office.
Mecca loves Antiques shows and trite British soap operas?
09 Jun 2006
Can you read? I said I used to enjoy PBS when it had quality more original programming.

Have you watched PBS lately? Sesame St is nice but even a Rockhead is too old for it. They show commericial movies you can rent, soap operas and when they show concerts they are ones that are repeated over and over again. And I like Bruce Springsteen, but I don't need Public Tv to promote someone who sells millions of records. Excellent jazz, folk, regional and creative artists with excellent credentials in every public tv market are leaving the arts because of fewer outlets.

I don't know what Fox has to do with this. Whatever you think of their news coverage, they do not pretend to present arts, culture or even documentary films. Why don't you whine to the liberal media like ABC, CBS, NBC and MSNBC/USA to show more original drama and creative work in all fields.

What planet are you on or what are you on?
Re: GOP takes aim at PBS ... again
10 Jun 2006
sorry but PBS sucks, and this is a criticism from the left. PBS is as much a shill as any of the corporate media. it's worse in some ways than the corporate media because its funding comes not just from horrible companis like frankenfarmers ADM, but also from foundations whose agendas and interests are more difficult to discern but definitely exist and impact coverage. Sesame Street may SEEM like a good thing but it has made our kids be bored by education that does not involve brightly colored monster puppets singing rock or rapping. NPR is full of neoliberal pablum obfuscating the real issues. It goes on and on. The britcoms are the best part of PBS. Oh yeah, they also aired the horrid NOVA documentary about how the twin towers fell--a monumental lie shielding Bush/PNAC and Larry Silverstein from exposure of their insurance scam/false flag attack. Kill PBS--it has long since ceased to function in the public interest.