The Case Against Federal Funding for Public Broadcasting

Alan Mutter argues compellingly about why PBS and NPR should man up and stop taking federal funding:

Although the loss of federal largesse initially would stress the nation’s 368 public television stations and 934 public radio outlets, these generally well-funded, well-known and well-established organizations for the most part could carry on, because only 15% of their backing on average comes from Uncle Sam. While an instant 15% drop in revenues would ruin anyone’s day, it pales against, say, the nearly 50% plunge that newspapers have suffered in ad sales in the last five years.

So, yes, public broadcasters would have to retrench. Yes, they would have to step up fund-raising from foundations, from corporations and from listeners and viewers like us. And, yes, that would mean more pledge breaks. But it would be worth it, because public broadcasters would gain the independence they – and viewers and listeners like us – deserve. Once and for all, the broadcasters could concentrate on broadcasting, instead of worrying about the next budgetary challenge from Capitol Hill or the White House.

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