Third Party & Independents Archives

Senate Hearing on CPB Funding

Republicans on the Committee, joined with Democrats in their remarks to support restoration of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Even Sen. Stevens from Alaska came out in full support for funding CPB. Patricia Harrison, the newly appointed Republican CEO of CPB, made it very clear CPB is necessary for our society and our democracy in the way it provides for an informed public consent, in a way no commercial TV and Radio can or will.

I was impressed with CEO, Ms. Harrison, who declared she is an American first, and a Republican second; and CPB is a necessary good for America. She indicated her party affiliation will not interfere with her dedication to preserve and protect such a vital educational vehicle for adults and children in delivering informative, fair and balanced programming that raises awareness and information levels of American citizens from Inuit tribes in Alaska to the Florida Keys. The only extremist view in the hearing was that of David Boaz of the Cato Institute who declared PBS and NPR programming, of necessity, is biased and agenda set, and there is no role for public tax dollars in supporting such programming.

Sen.'s Durbin and Specter were very instructive in their questioning of witnesses in drawing out the commitments and purposes of management of PBS and NPR toward local dominated decentralized informative and educational programming. They were effective in establishing the fact that bias of programming largely was contingent upon the viewer's biases rather than the programming bias. Where liberal or conservative programming exists, it is obvious and represented as such while remaining true to facts and data. CPB complaints of bias come equally in numbers from both the right and the left. This fact is important against the backdrop of an 80% approval rating by consumers.

Sen. Stevens made a valuable point when he said he was glad the House had brought this issue up for review by recommending cuts, to establish fact from partisan fiction and to clear the air of misunderstandings and faulty perceptions. He said he believes there is a legitimate concern over politicization of CPB and its programming but also expressed trust that such managerial oversight to insure mandated fair and balanced programming will be accomplished. I did not hear a single Senator indicate that they would support the House of Representative's recommended cuts. CPB is too vital to the delivery of necessary and extremely useful information to citizens as diverse as the poor in Appalachia and tribal villages in Alaska to schoolchildren in NYC to voters, workers and investors in LA and Beverly Hills, was the prevailing view by both the Committee and the managerial witnesses.

I was pleased and hopeful as the Committee adjourned, that CPB funding, which the law provides up to 40% funding for, will be restored at the 15% of operating budget currently received.

Readers can view the hearing on C-Span's web site. The link there is entitled, Senate Hearing on Public Broadcasting Funding.

Posted by David R. Remer at July 12, 2005 01:43 AM
Comments
Comment #65974

David,

This is a nice balanced piece that makes sense. Personally I have little use for CPB because I rarely watch television, but I admit presidential elections would be a little less exciting without the results appearing on television as the votes were processed.

Thank you for this nice article that puts that in perspective.

Posted by: Stephanie at July 12, 2005 04:43 AM
Comment #65977

Bah. Liberal Media. Once Karl Rove fills the Board with Rightwing Ultra Conservatives, the CPB will once again belong to proper White Christian American Patriots who are real heterosexual men and love America.

Posted by: Aldous at July 12, 2005 06:44 AM
Comment #66005

I am assuming that this is the same money being reinstated that had been earmarked for removal a month or so ago and was hotly debated here.

As I recall the points FOR the funding to remain were better explained than those in favor of the reduction.

Based on the end result I would say that the squeakiest wheel got the most oil. Enjoy your programming.

Posted by: steve smith at July 12, 2005 10:08 AM
Comment #66022

David,

I never worried much about any bias in pbs news coverage, no worst than the rest of MSM.

What bothers me is when lies and propaganda is presented as fact to children on pbs.
I mostly talking about the phony wildlife programs presented as truth, when in reality its just anti-hunting propaganda.

Posted by: Beagle at July 12, 2005 11:04 AM
Comment #66033

David:

Nicely done.

I dont see any need in our current circumstances for government funded media. All media outlets are biased to some extent and there is a plethora of available options. A government funded media outlet is no less likely to be biased than any other outlet.

The trick is to not fall into the trap of only looking at one outlet. Reading and watching programming from a variety of sources (note how Watchblog is separated into three equal yet different viewpoints) is the way to get a measured view of the “truth”.

Once upon a time, public broadcasting was necessary because other options did not exist. This is no longer the case.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 12, 2005 12:00 PM
Comment #66050

jbod, as all of the Rep. and Dem. CPB management said, the kind of useful local programming meeting community needs from parental care of offspring to extended series on Alzheimer’s care, many of the kinds of programming found on PBS CANNOT be found anywhere else in commercial media.

The problem with critics is, they don’t see the local programming for Inuits in Alaska in remote areas or programming in Appalachia, or for that matter much of the netwide programming that preserves and delivers American heritage programming or in depth practical assistance programming on caring for Alzheimer’s patients at home, which could never be profitable on commercial TV or radio.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 12, 2005 01:01 PM
Comment #66051

jbod,

Good to see you back.

“Once upon a time, public broadcasting was necessary because other options did not exist. This is no longer the case.”

The options aren’t much different now. With the Faux Network doing their best Enquirer imitation, and the rest of them blathering about the “headline of the nano-second” PBS is still nescessary if only for a reliable, non-sensational, source for news.

Anyting else that PBS broadcasts is icing on the cake.

Posted by: Rocky at July 12, 2005 01:08 PM
Comment #66065

David, good article and follow-up to jbod (btw, where’ve you been hiding, jbod?).
I guess we’ll just have to see if Ms. Harrison is really an American first and a Republican second as far as editorial independence and insulating public broadcasting from government intrusion into the content of CPB.
With Kenneth Tomlinson acting as chairman, I think we have plenty of reason to wonder if indeed this will be the case — especially since he has already commissioned secret content reviews of programs like NOW with Bill Moyers, recruited White House staffers to write guidelines for CPB ombudsmen, choose Harrison, a former Republican National Committee co-chair for the CEO appointment, and has been the one leading the drive for “political balance” on the public television airwaves.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 12, 2005 02:39 PM
Comment #66068

Aldous,

“….White Christian American Patriots who are real heterosexual men and love America”

LOL. I take it you read Jesus’ General?

Posted by: Hannah at July 12, 2005 02:59 PM
Comment #66078

“Once upon a time, public broadcasting was necessary because other options did not exist. This is no longer the case.”

Only if you can afford or have cable tv. If you do not, there are no options. I do not have cable tv by choice. So I enjoy and support CPB. Some families do not have that choice, cable tv is still not available in some remote areas and the alternative dish is expensive. For those who have cable, the quality of children’s programming especially is a huge reason to support CPB. There is no alternative that I am aware of that duplicates that on cable.

So, I agree with David that this is very welcome news.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at July 12, 2005 03:38 PM
Comment #66089

David:

Perhaps PBS has more in the way of those items than I am aware of. I’ll look into it to see if it changes my opinion.

Rocky:

There are those who see PBS as the counterpoint to Fox News. And NPR is certainly on the liberal side of the scale. If one cannot see that, perhaps it is because they are unable to see it. As I said, ALL media has its inherent biases, but media should stand on its own two feet.

Lisa:

You seem to have enough money to support CPB, so i’d suspect you might have enough to have cable, though perhaps not. Still, the use of public monies for CPB is in my mind still unnecessary. With the tech advances of cable and satellite television, e-mail chains, and internet websites, those who choose to investigate can do so. And these mediums can be used to provide the types of information that David refers to in his post.

Lastly, I was not in hiding, but apparently was limited in my ability to access Watchblog. For what, I do not know. But apparently Big Brother was watching……

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 12, 2005 04:25 PM
Comment #66090

“For those who have cable, the quality of children’s programming especially is a huge reason to support CPB. There is no alternative that I am aware of that duplicates that on cable.”

I’m sure Franken and Moore are trying to duplicate it for cable in some way Lisa:)

I’ll side with joe, we don’t need govt run newspapers or govt run television.

Posted by: kctim at July 12, 2005 04:26 PM
Comment #66104

jbod,

Belive me I can see your pov. I think that Fox is at best tabloid journalism, but then again I don’t think I can rate the other networks much higher.

Newsman Jim Lehrer, and his collegues actually harken to the days when the news was the news, not some pale imitation of reality TV, or Entertainment Tonight.
Newshour couldn’t be done on a cable or over the air network where, “newsertainment” depends on vacuous talking heads for ratings.
Can you honestly say that “The McLaughlin Group” has a “liberal” bias?
Sorry, I find PBS more “Fair and Ballanced” than the network that claims it is.

Posted by: Rocky at July 12, 2005 05:53 PM
Comment #66111

joebagodonuts, if your access was cut off, it was for not complying with our policy stated in the header of each column or flame baiting others into breaching that policy.

You have a second chance, we trust you will use it in accordance with our policy.

Posted by: WatchBlog Managing Editor at July 12, 2005 06:29 PM
Comment #66156

joebagodonuts, maybe I wasn’t clear enough so I’ll clarify. I chose not to have cable, I could afford it but do not want it. However, others do not have the choice.

While I generally don’t support extra governmental involvement, CPB I believe is of proven value and is worthy of governmental support. It is obvious from the television fare we currently have (hence the reason for no cable) that it is not being provided.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at July 12, 2005 09:57 PM
Comment #66166

kctim, why not get the facts straight before you spread misinformation? PBS is NOT government run. The Government oversees the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) according to statute. PBS and NPR are run by their own organizations and local communities who select and air programming relevant to their communities, some developed in conjunction with CPB resources and some strictly local productions are funded largely by local and state resources as well as philanthropists.

CPB has oversight authority to ensure that the conditions stipulated by law for public funding of CPB are observed. But, CPB does NOT directly create the programming or run the local PBS and NPR stations.

So, let’s dispel the myth that the Government is involved in producing propaganda shows for its own benefit and nefarious purposes, shall we? It simply is not set up that way in the statutes that created CPB. In fact, checks against CPB becoming a production company for the Government propaganda machine were set in place.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 12, 2005 10:44 PM
Comment #66199

Watchblog Manager

joebagodonuts, if your access was cut off, it was for not complying with our policy stated in the header of each column or flame baiting others into breaching that policy.

You have a second chance, we trust you will use it in accordance with our policy.Posted by WatchBlog Managing Editor at July 12, 2005 06:29 PM

I know the policy and have adhered to the policy to the best of my knowledge and ability. I do not believe I breached the policy; however, I appreciate once again being part of the Watchblog community.

Lisa:

Thanks for the clarification. My point was that with the plethora of options available through the internet, cable and print media, most if not all have the ability to get a broad pattern of information.

The libraries(also govt supported) provide free internet access and free print media access. Yes, I know that one has to actually go to the library which requires some effort, but those unwilling to put out that little effort most likely arent willing enough to care about looking at multiple sources, which also takes effort.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 13, 2005 07:18 AM
Comment #66225

“kctim, why not get the facts straight before you spread misinformation? PBS is NOT government run. The Government oversees the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) according to statute”

Ok David, maybe you could clear up some of those “facts” for us.
Do any of those get public funding?
Are there guidelines that a business receiving public funding has to abide by?
Who creates those guidelines?
Who created the statutes you spoke of?

It is a myth only because you agree with the content.
What would your thoughts be about a muppet who was a born-again Christian? airing a show about how abstinence is the only effective way to stop the spread of sexual diseases? since firearms are such a huge part of our public, what about a show which promotes firearm safety and how to use them for self defense?

While they are usually not openly biased towards one side or another, the shows they CHOOSE to air and the timing and manner in which they air them, definetly favor the left.

Yes, its just a myth. That is until they start airing programs that you disagree with 90% of the time, then it will be your reality and you will want everybody to pay attention and support you.

Posted by: kctim at July 13, 2005 10:12 AM
Comment #66242

joebaggadonuts, if it is the case that you did not violate our policy, then what happened is someone else did who had the same Internet Service Provider, and when their ISP was banned, regretfully, your access was lost, as well. We periodically unblock ISP’s in the hopes offenders won’t return and newcomers from those ISP’s will. If that was the case, I humbly apologize and wholeheartedly welcome your return.

It is such a shame that spammers and uncivil folks force ISP banning which sometimes also precludes fine folks from accessing sites of their choice. Thank you for returning.

Posted by: WatchBlog Managing Editor at July 13, 2005 11:01 AM
Comment #66358

kctim,

“What would your thoughts be about a muppet who was a born-again Christian? airing a show about how abstinence is the only effective way to stop the spread of sexual diseases? since firearms are such a huge part of our public, what about a show which promotes firearm safety and how to use them for self defense?”

Some of what you point out is handled at the local level. These stations are also funded, in part, by the CPB. As with the major networks, the local PBS stations don’t always air all of the national programing. Most also have their own local agenda, complete with local funding.

Posted by: Rocky at July 13, 2005 04:32 PM
Comment #66382

But they still use public money, no matter how little, to air their “agenda” Rocky.

Posted by: kctim at July 13, 2005 05:54 PM
Comment #66417

kctim,


And I don’t have a problem with that. I even subscribe to raise their monies even further.

Look, no offence, but if you don’t want to pay for it, write your rep.
If you don’t it’s nobodies fault but your own.

Posted by: Rocky at July 13, 2005 09:20 PM
Comment #66463

Watchblog Manager:

Thanks for the explanation. Its entirely within the realm of possibilty that I said something inflammatory or that my ISP was blocked in error. The “vacation” surprised me, but in truth, Watchblog is not a right that any of us have, but rather a privilege that we enjoy. In that vein, I simply looked at it in the same manner as if the site had been down for a while.

In any event, I’m happy to be back and I enjoy the give and take from the various viewpoints. The site is well run and I appreciate the input and work that the managers provide. Thanks.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 14, 2005 08:26 AM
Comment #66543

I have and will continue to Rocky, no offense taken.
And if you don’t have a problem with it, cool, no biggie.
I’m sure you will be consistent with your position and continue to raise money, even if it swings to the right.

Posted by: kctim at July 14, 2005 01:16 PM
Comment #66573

kctim,

If, after it swings to the right, PBS continues to air shows that I watch, regardless of slant, I will continue to support them.

It is because of the shows that I watch (News Hour, Mclaughlin Group, Nova, etc..) that I suport PBS. I don’t mind supporting NPR either.

Posted by: Rocky at July 14, 2005 02:37 PM