Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is defending federal support of public broadcasting in a column on the Huffington Post. Blumenauer mainly addresses The Diane Rehm Show appearance of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) last week, during which Rubio — on a talk show on NPR — spoke about how NPR should be defunded.
Rubio told Rehm that "plenty of other commercial outlets" would run her show. "I beg to differ," Blumenauer writes. "If there were a strong market in commercial radio for programs like The Diane Rehm Show, wouldn't we see them all over the country? We don't see them because commercial demand does not exist. That's why NPR and its member stations remain the sole source of this type of content. More troubling, this attitude shows a fundamental inability to understand that commercializing PBS programming would drastically change its essential nature. Why turn the nation's best forum for sustained public discourse into a carbon copy of all the other programming? People turn to public broadcasting because they already have 500 channels with nothing to watch."