House GOP Proposes Public Broadcasting Budget Cuts....Again

Rick Klein at the Boston Globe reported Thursday that Republicans in the House are proposing a cut for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) again, which completely failed last spring:

On a party-line vote, the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees health and education funding approved the cut to the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes money to the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. It would reduce the corporation's budget by 23 percent next year, to $380 million, in a cut that Republicans said was necessary to rein in government spending...

A similar move last year by Republican leaders was turned back in a fierce lobbying campaign launched by Public Broadcasting Service stations and Democratic members of Congress, in a debate that was colored by some Republicans' frustration with what they see as a liberal slant in public programming.

Democrats and PBS officials launched the usual broadsides in response. Rep. Ed Markey took two seconds to call it an attack on "Sesame Street" and "Clifford the Big Red Dog." PBS boss Paula Kerger said it would hurt services to local communities like literacy programs. NPR boss Kevin Klose said it would hurt small local stations. These lines have been used for a decade. None of them have much basis in fact, especially since spending cuts never seem to occur.

Liberal tilt on PBS and NPR remains a persistent problem, even if their programs don't seem to have the same impact on public opinion and the wider liberal media that they might have had late in the 20th century. I don't think these House appropriators are scourges of liberal bias. I think they like to make a rhetorical point: that liberals should like the "human needs" programs to be a higher priority than an overgrown, flush-with-cash broadcasting empire. PBS and NPR stars can be especially flush with cash. Remember Garrison Keillor? His movie premiers today, ka-ching.

Here's how the PBS program "Now," formerly a Bill Moyers show, demonstrated the liberal-bias argument. Brent Bozell touched on this last May. Or, if you're a glutton for punishment, check out our whole public broadcasting page.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis