Last Thursday, a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut federal funding for public broadcasting by 45%. The proposed cuts eliminate funding for the Ready to Learn program, which supports educational, commercial-free children’s programming on public television. In addition, it acted to eliminate within two years all federal money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting starting with a 25% reduction in CPB's budget for next year, from $400 million to $300 million. This week, the House is expected to vote on the budget which includes these cuts.
This raises a lot of questions, the most important of which is simply whether having publically-funded, non-commercial media is worth paying for.
What do you think?
Whichever 'side' you're on, I urge you to make a quick call to your congressperson's office and let him or her know what you think.
Dear Rep. Platts (PA-19):
I am writing to express my concern over the recent House Appropriation Committee decision to cut funding for public broadcasting.
On the national level, I am sure that you have already heard the arguments for and/or against this decision. But I write to you as a long-time citizen of Central PA.
As you are well aware, the Central PA region is a beautiful mixture of rural, town and small-city life, rife with rich American history and a burgeoning future of small-business as well as national commerce. From town to town and village to village, we are all connected by our regional similarities; though it might be a 15 minute drive, each one of us has a stake in the "next town over."
As you are also aware, the National Public Radio affiliate, WITF-FM (and PBS WITF-TV), works very hard to keep the community connected by covering Central PA news and goings-on. From its educational "Explore PA History" program to the only non-commercial classical music in the area, to its daily news coverage, I believe that WITF is an indispensable independent source of news and information for the area I've lived in and which you represent.
I believe, Mr. Platts, that one of the best things you could do for me as my congressman, is to say 'no' to this decision when it gets to the House floor.
In doing so, you will actually be saying 'yes' to an investment in the Central PA community. You would be saying
"Yes, in the face of big media mergers, low-quality news coverage from the networks, and A.D.D.-inducing commercial programming, the CentPA community deserves a balance. They deserve an alternative. They deserve a station which covers what's happening in my electoral district with deliberation and a commitment to my constituents' well-being, and the general public good. Sure, it costs money, but that cost is a pittance when compared to other projects and appropriations I consider here in Washington. And the return--the opportunity for my fellow CentPA citizens to have a sound source of news, information, and other educational programming--is priceless."
Please say yes to me and my fellow CPA'ers by saying NO to cutting funding for public broadcasting.
p.s. I think ponies are cute and my T-ball team just won our league champonchips.