Feb 17, 2011

Both sides continue to speak out on value of pubcasting

Two more of the many opinion pieces circulating on public broadcasting funding:

On the side of public media, WGBH President Jon Abbott and his Boston colleague Charles Kravetz, g.m. of WBUR, say sacrificing money for public broadcasting will make little difference in America's budget woes. "Does the federal deficit need to be addressed? Of course," they write today (Feb. 17) in the Boston Globe. "But gutting public radio and public television is not the answer. Eliminating the government’s investment in public broadcasting would reduce the $1.5 trillion federal budget deficit by less than three ten-thousandths of one percent."

Stating the case against funding on his blog is Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), author of S. 178, which calls for elimination of CPB funding. "Shows like Sesame Street are multi-million dollar enterprises capable of thriving in the private market," he writes. "According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file, Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 – nearly a million dollars – in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, Sesame Street made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales. When taxpayer funding for public broadcasting ends, rest assured, Cookie Monster will still be fed."

Sesame Workshop, meanwhile, is declining press interviews on the funding fight, and referring reporters to a Feb. 15 statement on its website, which says in part: “At this critical time when we need to keep America competitive by maintaining a better grip on our nation's finances, we also must continue to provide resources for families of young children whose circumstances are under severe economic or other hardships. For these reasons, we believe it is critical that the Congress do its utmost to continue to provide maximum resources to CPB during this critical budget cycle.”

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