Mar 15, 2011

Look beyond the cost savings to value of pubcasting, say three conservative writers

Is the dialogue among conservatives regarding funding for public broadcasting becoming more nuanced? On the Weekly Standard's blog, writer Philip Terzian embraces the conservative viewpoint that federal funding should be killed, but he also notes: "The fact is that the kind of radio and television I like — classic jazz and classical music, arcane documentaries on history, literature, and science — is nearly nonexistent on the air, except on PBS and NPR."

In a response to that commentary in the New American, published by the ultra-right John Birch Society, writer Beverly Eakman, an education policy analyst and former speechwriter for the late Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, says that conservatives need to become more involved with pubcasting. "In the present political climate, where even children’s programming is rife with leftist messages, junk science, and psychobabble, however subdued, it is probably a mistake to support CPB with taxpayer dollars," she says. "However, if the culture is ever to be turned around, conservative traditionalists need to step up to the plate and get on the boards of organizations that will present the kinds of high-culture programs that PBS does."

And Mary Kate Cary, a former White House speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush and a  contributor to NPR's Tell Me More, points out in U.S.News & World Report that CPB has a board comprised of six presidentially-appointed members, three Republicans and three Democrats.And CPB is legally charged with “strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature.”

". . . Congress should support continued funding for all perspectives to be heard on public radio," she writes. "According to the public broadcasting corporation, 'diversity in programming' is one way that it ensures a wide range of perspectives is available to PBS viewers and NPR listeners. If federal funding ends, presumably having that wide range of perspectives will end too, because there won’t be a federal mandate for diverse programming anymore."

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