Sunday, 22 May 2005

Killing “public” broadcasting

Paul Jacob:

There is bias in news reporting and there always will be. That’s hardly the problem. The problem is forcing people to pay for the bias and propaganda with which they disagree. As Jefferson once wrote, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”

This sort of tyranny has become a fixation on the left. Leftist artists cannot seem to enjoy their craft without the controversy that comes from forcing people who are offended by it to pay the bill. Leftists also want public financing of political campaigns, so that Americans are forced to pay to promote political views they oppose. Of course, this could just be a pragmatic decision based on the realization that they cannot raise funds voluntarily.

In his column Jacob notes a poll conducted by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which finances PBS and NPR. Only 8 percent of Americans watch PBS. Eight percent. Yet the argument is that PBS has shows that are important to the culture, or that no one else will carry. Maybe the reason no one else will carry them is because no one else is willing to pay for them. And I hardly think Antiques Roadshow qualifies as a important historical documentary series.

We do watch PBS in our home. Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder. Two highly successful childrens’ programs which would do fine on any of the pay-for networks we get through our satellite service. I’ve found of the other shows typically shown on PBS that I would find an interest in, I can find the same or similar type shows on Discovery or the History Channel.

It’s time to fully privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to cut the taxpayer-funding cord. Let PBS and NPR sink or swim in the free market. Ninety-two percent of Americans can’t be wrong.

posted on May 22, 2005 3:12 PM




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