As the battle over taxpayer funding of public broadcasting heats up, the esteemed Newton Minow weighs in with this defense of public television and radio:
As a nation, we support public broadcasting for the same reasons that we support public libraries, public parks, public schools and public hospitals. Why public libraries when we have bookstores? Why public parks when we have country clubs? Why public schools when we have private schools? Why public hospitals when we have private hospitals?
Sounds good, But, Newt, one big difference is that when we go into our public libraries, we don't find only books by and for liberals. Like Steve Chapman, I find it useful to listen to NPR, but to discover what's on the liberal agenda. (If you have doubts about its bias, check out this shocking video: a fundraiser trying to tag the tea party with the "racist" label, and other moronic stuff. This, too.)
And now, we have tax-supported public broadcasting using our money to lobby Congress to keep using our money to support public broadcasting. The Washington Times reports:
NPR and PBS stations nationwide are rallying their audiences to contact Congress to fight against Republicans' proposed spending cuts, but some affiliates' pleas may violate laws preventing nonprofits or government-funded groups from lobbying.
This is far from the world of communications we had in 1967 when President Lyndon Johnson and Congress created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Our choices then were a lot more limited, and the desire to create "quality programming" free of the so-called leveling influences of advertising-driven commercial broadcasting was understandable. And as commendable as the motivation was, the reality was that it was eventually hijacked by partisans.
Public broadcasting supporters are wrong when they say that quality programming, say for kids and for people looking for serious reporting, can't support itself in the competitive marketplace. Look at the selection of channels available today on cable.
Minow and public broadcasting supporters are living in a world that's older than bellbottom trousers. Don't fool yourself; there's money to be had in public broadcasting and the Minows of the world know how to get it.