Liberal groups, pubic radio, and TV stations and fans of Big Bird and All Things Considered are girding for a huge fight with House Republicans over a GOP plan to cut $100 billion in spending including zeroing out $430 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
"They probably think that no one will notice these cuts in the midst of so many others. But the millions of listeners and viewers who rely on public broadcasting for Sesame Street, All Things Considered, and independent journalism will notice," said MoveOn.org in an urgent E-mail just sent out. "We need to tell Republicans that cutting off funding was unacceptable last time they were in charge, and it's unacceptable now," said MoveOn.
"Some say that there is no longer a need for federal support for public broadcasting. Others believe it's one of the worthiest places to invest federal dollars. More importantly, though, is what you think," said a notice from Ohio University's WOUB. The money that would be lost helps to better educate viewers and listeners, added the TV and radio station. "It helps us to deliver educational and commercial-free programming that expands children's minds, documentaries that open up new worlds to you, trusted news programs that keep you informed, and exposes you to the worlds of music, theater, dance and art as an adult."
Republicans have long sought to cut public radio and TV funding, claiming that the stations that receive the money are hostile to conservative politics. They also claim that commercial stations deliver equally fair and balanced news.
Liberals see a conspiracy to shut them down. "Extremists in Congress have introduced six—yes, six—bills that would slash all funding for NPR, PBS, and other public media," says the liberal site Politicususa. "In an era of media consolidation, fewer national and foreign bureaus and mass newsroom layoffs, NPR is one of the only media outlets actually bringing listeners more reporting from around the country and around the world. Despite its fulfilling that important need, the United States spends a mere pittance on public media, compared to other industrialized countries," added the site.
MoveOn has started a petition drive. Here's their pitch just received by Whispers:
Dear MoveOn member,
I guess we shouldn't be surprised.
With Republicans back in charge of the House of Representatives, funding for NPR and PBS is in grave danger. Again.
The Republicans just released their budget proposal, and it zeroes out funding for both NPR and PBS—the worst proposal in more than a decade.
They probably think that no one will notice these cuts in the midst of so many others. But the millions of listeners and viewers who rely on public broadcasting for "Sesame Street," "All Things Considered," and independent journalism will notice.
We need to tell Republicans that cutting off funding was unacceptable last time they were in charge, and it's unacceptable now.
Add your name to the petition to save NPR and PBS:
The petition says: "Congress must protect NPR and PBS and guarantee them permanent funding, free from political meddling."
Thanks for all you do.
–Daniel, Amy, Michael, Wes, and the rest of the team.