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Let’s Defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Old TV with Stop Funding Sign

Who would have ever thought that creating and funding a massive government-owned media conglomerate to “create a more informed public” would be a good idea?  Well, that was President Lyndon B. Johnson.  He created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in 1967 as part of his Great Society.  After that, the monster grew.  In 1969, the CPB created the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), and in 1970, National Public Radio (NPR).

NPR’s mission statement is a high-sounding piece of prose:  to help Americans achieve “a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures [through] programming that meets the highest standards of public service in journalism and cultural expression….”  PBS “empowers individuals to achieve their potential and strengthen the social, democratic, and cultural health of the U.S.”

In reality, NPR has long provided a taxpayer-funded megaphone for every leftist cause known to man, and generally for the Democratic Party.  “The CPB spreads the rejection of America’s founding principles through PBS, NPR, and the CPB’s more than 1,500 local public radio and television affiliates.”  The Knight Foundation did a review of 50 years under the Public Broadcasting Act and concluded that the CPB “all too often seeks not to elevate society but to tear down its existing institutions.”

A Media Research Center (MRC) study in 2007 showed a stunning disparity in the way the two parties were treated: 

“NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ produced more stories about Democratic candidates than Republicans (41% vs. 24%).  What was different was how little coverage Democrats received, especially compared with all other media.  Stories about a Democratic candidate were seven times more positive than negative: 41% positive vs. 6% negative.”  For Republicans, the comparable figures are 30 percent positive vs. 20 percent negative.

On May 17, 2023, a new MRC study was released which reviewed the first four months of the current Congress, confirming that PBS news still has a hard pro-Democrat slant. 

By a 5-to-1 margin, the “NewsHour” promoted controversies involving congressional Republicans over those involving congressional Democrats…. Republicans were often (20 times) branded as extremists (“far right,” “hard right,” etc.) by “NewsHour” correspondents or commentators.  Left-wing Democrats were never “far left” or “hard left,” not even socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt….  

Leftist bias is not the only misuse of taxpayer money by the CPB.  In 2017, no less than seven prominent (and liberal) CPB-funded TV and radio personalities were fired from their jobs after sexual harassment allegations.  These included Charlie Rose, Garrison Keillor, Tavis Smiley, Tom Ashbrook, David Sweeney, John Hockenberry, and Michael Oreskes.

For decades, a few conservatives have called for an end to taxpayer funding of the CPB. 

PBS wasn’t yet a year old in 1971 when a 35-year-old White House lawyer warned President Nixon that they were being “confronted with a long-range problem of significant social consequences — that is, the development of a government-funded broadcast system similar to the BBC.”  That lawyer was future Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

President Reagan tried to eliminate CPB funding.  Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) tried.  Even George W. Bush tried.  It has never happened.

In 2019, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) sponsored legislation to defund the CPB.  He cited numerous examples of the CPB’s leftist slant on cultural battles.  PBS had recently aired an episode of the children’s show “Arthur,” featuring a homosexual “wedding.”  And in May of 2019, NPR issued a guideline reminder for talent when discussing abortion, stating:

“The term ‘unborn’ implies that there is a baby inside a pregnant woman, not a fetus.  Babies are not babies until they are born.  They’re fetuses.  Incorrectly calling a fetus a ‘baby’ or ‘the unborn’ is part of the strategy used by antiabortion groups to shift language/legality/public opinion.”  [Emphasis added.]

Lamborn’s bill was roundly criticized by fans of Garrison Keillor who apparently thought they would never hear from him unless the government funded him.

Then to “celebrate” Independence Day in 2021, NPR tweeted that our Declaration of Independence was “a document with flawsand deeply ingrained hypocrisies.” Again, conservative activists called for defunding NPR, but again, Congress took no action.

The CPB’s liberal slant has sometimes progressed to the completely cartoonish.  NPR was blasted after suggesting that Biden’s nominee for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was qualified because he “said he has ‘a personal love of transportation,’ recounting train trips on Amtrak while in college, and said he proposed to his now-husband, Chasten, in an airport terminal.” 

But the cost to the American taxpayer of funding CPB’s propaganda is no laughing matter.  Its budget was nearly half a billion dollars, $465,000,000, in fiscal year 2022 alone.  With a national debt approaching $31 trillion, something must be cut.  If they think about the national debt, they would defund CPB.  If they think constitutionally, House Republicans would defund CPB.  And, if they think politically (how congressional Republicans faced 85% negative coverage, compared to 54% positive coverage of congressional Democrats) they would defund CPB which works to defeat them — even if they must take some heat from the “brie-and-Chablais” set who would never vote for them anyway.  

If Republicans refuse to defund the CPB, their plaintive cries about “the liberal media” will drown in their own hypocrisy of having just funded a big part of that liberal media. So Republicans, no more talking.  Defund the CPB now!

Click here to go to the IN FOCUS – Defund The Federal Beast page.

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