Corporation for Public Broadcasting No. 181
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) provides an invaluable service to the American public by broadcasting educational and public service programming free from commercial influences.
Conservative critics have attacked CPB, alleging a liberal bias. In fact, CPB’s programming consists of shows falling along the entire political spectrum. Furthermore, CPB’s new president, Kenneth Tomlinson, has staffed the CPB with conservative allies in an effort to shape its programming to promote his own ideology. For example, he has hired outside consultants to monitor the ideological content of programs such as NOW with Bill Moyers, and has replaced the CEO of the CPB with a former co-chair of the Republican National Committee.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended cutting $100 million from the CPB’s $400 million budget. The drastic cuts could have endangered the operability of the CPB, especially in rural and low-income areas where the need for education is often the greatest. Public protests of these cuts demonstrated tremendous support for public television and forced the House to reject the recommendation of its Appropriations Committee.
Despite the House’s rejection of funding cuts for the CPB, its long-term financial independence is not secure. The House voted to eliminate funding for the Ready to Learn program, which subsidizes educational programming to our nation’s youth, and the proposed cuts, even if not enacted, reflect the hostility many members of Congress have toward the CPB.
Republican Congressional leaders claim that the proposed budget cuts are fiscally and not politically motivated. Cutting taxes for the richest Americans should not necessitate cutting educational programming for our children. Conservative antipathy to the CPB suggests additional motives behind this decision. We urge the 109th Congress to maintain the financial and political independence of our nation’s public broadcasting.
Americans for Democratic Action strongly urges that funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting be maintained at its present level and that Congress consider providing a dedicated source of funds. We also urge that the independence of its programming from political influence be ensured.
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Social and Domestic Commission