Senate Hearing on CPB Funding

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Republicans on the Committee, joined with Democrats in their remarks to support restoration of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Even Sen. Stevens from Alaska came out in full support for funding CPB. Patricia Harrison, the newly appointed Republican CEO of CPB, made it very clear CPB is necessary for our society and our democracy in the way it provides for an informed public consent, in a way no commercial TV and Radio can or will.

I was impressed with CEO, Ms. Harrison, who declared she is an American first, and a Republican second; and CPB is a necessary good for America. She indicated her party affiliation will not interfere with her dedication to preserve and protect such a vital educational vehicle for adults and children in delivering informative, fair and balanced programming that raises awareness and information levels of American citizens from Inuit tribes in Alaska to the Florida Keys. The only extremist view in the hearing was that of David Boaz of the Cato Institute who declared PBS and NPR programming, of necessity, is biased and agenda set, and there is no role for public tax dollars in supporting such programming.

Sen.'s Durbin and Specter were very instructive in their questioning of witnesses in drawing out the commitments and purposes of management of PBS and NPR toward local dominated decentralized informative and educational programming. They were effective in establishing the fact that bias of programming largely was contingent upon the viewer's biases rather than the programming bias. Where liberal or conservative programming exists, it is obvious and represented as such while remaining true to facts and data. CPB complaints of bias come equally in numbers from both the right and the left. This fact is important against the backdrop of an 80% approval rating by consumers.

Sen. Stevens made a valuable point when he said he was glad the House had brought this issue up for review by recommending cuts, to establish fact from partisan fiction and to clear the air of misunderstandings and faulty perceptions. He said he believes there is a legitimate concern over politicization of CPB and its programming but also expressed trust that such managerial oversight to insure mandated fair and balanced programming will be accomplished. I did not hear a single Senator indicate that they would support the House of Representative's recommended cuts. CPB is too vital to the delivery of necessary and extremely useful information to citizens as diverse as the poor in Appalachia and tribal villages in Alaska to schoolchildren in NYC to voters, workers and investors in LA and Beverly Hills, was the prevailing view by both the Committee and the managerial witnesses.

I was pleased and hopeful as the Committee adjourned, that CPB funding, which the law provides up to 40% funding for, will be restored at the 15% of operating budget currently received.

Readers can view the hearing on C-Span's web site. The link there is entitled, Senate Hearing on Public Broadcasting Funding.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on July 12, 2005 12:38 AM.

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