Last week a House subcommittee voted to cut funding for public broadcasting, aiming to radically change programming on National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The proposed cuts include $23.4 million in federal funds for children's educational shows, such as "Sesame Street," "Clifford the Big Red Dog," and "Arthur." The loss of these shows would deprive millions of American children of valuable educational programming.
The subcommittee also voted to "zero out" or eliminate within two years all federal money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). That loss would be about 15 percent of public broadcasting's total revenues. Small stations serving rural communities and minority audiences would be particularly hard hit by these cuts because they operate on very tight budgets and, in many cases, are one of the only stations serving the community.
We need to kill this funding-cut proposal immediately. Please call the leadership of the Appropriations Committee today and demand that they immediately work to restore full funding for public broadcasting:
Call these leaders and ask them not to meddle with the funding for public broadcasting. In addition, please also email your Member of Congress and let him or her know that you oppose efforts to slash funding for public broadcasting. You can do so by going to:
We must take these actions today. Last week's vote was "a malicious wounding, if not outright attempted murder, of public broadcasting in America."1
Unfortunately, this kind of congressional effort to cut funding for public broadcasting is not new. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) unsuccessfully tried to eliminate funding for public broadcasting in the 90s and there are still some in Congress who share his vision. And, it is not a surprise that the congressional opponents of public broadcasting have chosen this time to renew their efforts, considering the powerful friend they have on their corner, Kenneth Tomlinson, the chairman of CPB.
Mr. Tomlinson is waging an all-out campaign to politicize the CPB and interfere with the editorial independence of NPR and PBS because he thinks they are biased.2 Tomlinson and his friends in Congress, who are trying to gut public broadcasting, cling to this opinion despite the results of two recent CPB-funded polls that showed that overwhelming numbers of Americans view public broadcasting as a trusted source of news and information.3
This is why we need to move fast to fend off these overt attacks on public broadcasting, which a vast majority of Americans find to be a "trustworthy" source of information.4 So please call Representative Lewis at (202) 225-5861 and Representative Regula at (202) 225-3876, and email your Member of Congress, urging them to restore funding for public broadcasting.
Let us know how your calls are going by posting on our blog at:
President & CEO, Common Cause