Monthly Archives: October 2012

NPR’s On the Media: Should Government Fund Public Broadcasting?

Big Bird sure has been trending since Mitt Romney put a price on his head.  He even stayed up way past his bedtime to make a Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.  With PBS’ government funding in the crosshairs, NPR’s On the Media asked Reason.com editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie and New Yorker editor Steve Coll told Bob where they stood in the debate.  Their answers are worth a listen.  Just click here to hear them.

Steve Coll

Nick Gillespie

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Tell me how to get to revenue neutral…

Mr. Romney’s plot to kill Big Bird took center stage in his first presidential debate, igniting a firestorm of outrage in the Twitterverse.  PBS CEO Paula Kerger parried with a defense of PBS’ appropriation that, while offering a healthy dose of facts and perspective, only serves to remind us that PBS’ affiliate system lacks the core strength to survive a Romney presidency.  Well, we at FIXPBS have long promoted a free market solution for any candidate who wants Big Bird’s endorsement:  a simple PBS license fee bundled into basic cable and satellite viewer packages.  If every customer in America paid a dollar a month for PBS, we could nearly double its budget and put pledge drives out of their misery.  Who could argue against this?  For starters, Big Bird gets off public assistance and China can take its grubby mitts off .00012% of our annual federal budget.  Cable and satellite providers necessarily get a taste of a brand new fee while other networks keep bleeding them out of licensing revenue.  Viewers can tune in with no fear of station managers endlessly plying them with tote bags.  Now, making PBS solvent is actually the easy part.  Making it relevant, and building it into a centralized network, are taller orders, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

We leave you with this thought, nearly 70% of Americans reject defunding PBS.  Imagine the percentage that would support saving PBS once and for all.  Count eight-year-old Cecelia Crawford among the yeas:

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Won’t you be my funder?

As Mitt Romney’s budget axe takes a swing at Big Bird, let’s take stock and appreciate that PBS has been fighting for its appropriation from the very beginning.  Here’s Fred Rogers in 1969:

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