Archive for Monday, October 8, 2012

TV chief defends the role of PBS

Funding is tiny part of federal budget but crucial in state, manager says

October 8, 2012


— The political debate over the role of government — embodied by Big Bird — may be getting some laughs on the campaign trail, but Michael Quade, the general manager of Smoky Hills Public Television, sees nothing humorous in the prospect of ending federal funding to PBS.

“We would have to re-evaluate everything and probably have to do away with a lot of stuff,” said Quade, whose station serves 70 counties from Salina west to Colorado.

In last week’s presidential debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney said he would do away with federal funding of PBS. A day later, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, said the same thing, while her Democratic opponent, Tobias Schlingensiepen, of Topeka, said he would fight for PBS funding with his life.

Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting totals $450 million this year, accounting for about 15 percent of the CPB’s budget. That $450 million appropriation also represents roughly one one-hundredth of 1 percent of the total federal budget.

That money to PBS supplements the budgets of 179 stations nationally. For some of the smaller stations in rural areas, such as Smoky Hills, this subsidy makes up a major portion of budgeting.

Ending federal funding for public broadcasting would wipe out 40 percent of the budget at Smoky Hills, Quade said on Monday.

The station has a number of local productions, such as an agricultural show, high school sports, a Kansas legislative call-in show and others. In addition, the station supplies thousands of books to children in Head Start and conducts early-childhood workshops.

He said whether “Sesame Street,” which features Big Bird, would survive such a cut would probably be decided on the national level. Sesame Workshop, the producers who make “Sesame Street,” have said that while it is not part of PBS, it depends on the stations to distribute its work.

During a debate last week at the Dole Institute of Politics, Jenkins said she didn’t think it was appropriate for the federal government to be adding to the national debt by spending money on PBS.

“Do I want to send my grandkids, that aren’t even born yet, the bill so they can watch PBS? Of course not. This is ridiculous,” she said.

Quade said PBS plays a critical role in society, especially for children. “It’s about educating children in a safe place,” he said. He said if a family is watching PBS “you’re not going to see a commercial pop up that is going to make you blush.”


John Hamm 5 years, 5 months ago

A little note about CPB & PBS........ from Wikipedia. "The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 requires the CPB to operate with a "strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature".[12] It also requires it to regularly review national programming for objectivity and balance, and to report on "its efforts to address concerns about objectivity and balance"." Ain't happening > no $$$$$

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

And I bet you believe Fox when they say they are "fair and balanced."

BigDog 5 years, 5 months ago

Bozo, the difference is .. the bias of Fox is not being funded by the tax payer

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

The bigger difference is that Fox is complete and utter propagandistic crap, and public broadcasting is not.

BigDog 5 years, 5 months ago

And liberals don't seem to ever care about the debt or borrowing from China.

Maddy Griffin 5 years, 5 months ago

Only because they want to remain non-partisan.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

It ain't??? How so??

II listen to to KPR (KANU) every day and find their rational, reasonable and factual reporting and programming 10 miles above the usual news outlets (CNN and Fox). Perhaps the Republican Romney spinmeisters fear the tral truth. The rabid, religious, rightwingnut extremeists have been bashing on Public Radio for years because they will not carry the Rush Limbaugh style drivel that they so fanatically crave to hear. Fox news is so skewed to the right edge of the niverse that I cannot stand to hear all their foaming and frothing.

CNN can go overboard at times but is by far the better of the two media outlets. I am certain that there are still enough rational people in the country that PBS and Public radio will continue to thrive and be a pulic service holding up the integrity of the truth against the tea bag soaked rubbish that some prefer to believe.

gravitykills 5 years, 5 months ago

"Fox news is so skewed to the right edge of the niverse that I cannot stand to hear all their foaming and frothing". You can't stand Fox because you can't stand conservatives.

You add CNN to your list because they offer some conservative thought.

But you love PBS and claim they are fair and balanced. This only strengthens OonlyBonly’s point.

The reason you adore PBS is because they have a liberal spin and it's what you agree with.

It’s probably also fair to say that you are not disgusted with MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and NBC. The reason is you agree with their view, which is to the left.

My brother is just like you… hate’s Fox and thinks he’s neither left nor right. But, if you hate either Fox or MSNBC, you’re not really in the middle. You lean one way or the other... pretty simple. And you obviously lean to the left so those are the programs you favor.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"The reason you adore PBS is because they have a liberal spin and it's what you agree with."

Actually, there have been many analyses of the content of PBS's public affairs and news programming, and with very few exceptions, the defining characteristic is that they rely very heavily on inside-the-beltway and/or Wall Street sources, and that there is actually a distinct, if not heavy, rightward tilt to the guests they have on these programs.

There are a few programs that could be said to have a liberal slant, but they are by far the exception, not the rule.

Trumbull 5 years, 5 months ago

PBS and NPR commonly present opposing viewpoints on many political issues....both sides of the issue. In some people's minds this is way too liberal I guess.

Trumbull 5 years, 5 months ago

“Do I want to send my grandkids, that aren’t even born yet, the bill so they can watch PBS? Of course not. This is ridiculous,” she said.

I wonder also if we want to hand our unborn grandkids an unsustainable environment, with depleted resources and life, polluted with plastic, toxins, heavy metals, and possibly much warmer temperatures.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

For those who base all decisions on the next quarter's profits, the answer is "screw the kids."

beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

I find your comment of being here a "short few weeks" extremely hard to take seriously.


jesse499 5 years, 5 months ago

It's just like home if your going to balance your budget luxury's have to be cut first then when you get back in better financial shape then you can start over. Not spend,spend spend and when you run out barrow like they want to do in DC now.You talk about our Kids and grand kids what about leaving them a debt they can't pay is that what you want ?

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

Or you can balance your budget through increasing revenues by taking a second job or selling off some of those luxuries.

riverdrifter 5 years, 5 months ago

As somebody said, cutting PBS to save budget money is like a fat person trimming their toenails in order to lose weight.

jesse499 5 years, 5 months ago

It's going have to be a lot more things that you don't like added together to get things back in shape but know one wants to hear that.

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

Everyone I know would LOVE to hear what other cuts would be proposed. If we go the route of cuts alone without also increasing revenue, what's it going to be and who goes first?

Education (esp. grammar & spelling...)? School lunch programs? Defense? Foreign aid? Medicare? Social Security? Corporate welfare? Farm subsidies? Reductions in force for governmental agency employees? Post Office cutbacks or even more onerous pension burdens?

Trumbull 5 years, 5 months ago

Ronmey did say that he will eliminate deductions and credits.....but won't say which ones. I do know that home mortgage interest, child and dependent, and the earned income credit could be on the table. Voters should know.

beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

As I've said before, Romney won the debate with his presentation and helped energize conservatives (who were voting for him no matter what), but he probably lost votes among all important undecided voters with his claim to put PBS on the chopping block.

We can "borrow money" to give oil companies billions but helping educate our populace through PBS programming is too much? Stunning.

Honestly, I think we spend money on PBS, but are borrowing money to support our bloated defense department.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Romney had a better performance, to be sure, but the "debate" the other night didn't provide any better information about how he would perform as president than taking a double back flip off a high dive would.

Trumbull 5 years, 5 months ago

Sesame street is the problem....not Wall Street.....duh

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"Our defense department has kept us free, you also beatrice."

Sorry, but even with the best case argument for that statement, WWII, it's quite plausible that we'd be just as free today if we'd never entered the war.

Recitation of straw-man platitudes is a really bad basis for foreign/defense policy.

somedude20 5 years, 5 months ago

Where was that train of thought when ole Bush II started and borrowed money for Iraq (ssspphhhh, ole Bushy didn't even put the cost of the war in the budget, he hid the costs for years...back to normal voice) and that was a bs war to boot!

somedude20 5 years, 5 months ago

Really?, you don't talk about any world wars, Civil War, Titanic, god, Ronald Raygun, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Marilyn Monroe or anything in the past? Wow, smart one, ever heard the phrase "history repeats itself" I would guess not, but if ya had, that would be talking about the past. Good grief.

kansanbygrace 5 years, 5 months ago

Justfornow provides the ideal cue to remind: "Those ignorant of history are bound to repeat it."

beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, I'm familiar with what the defense department has done for us and will continue to due for us. My father fought in WWII. My comment in no way is a slap at what they do. In fact, when people say government is always worse at things than private business, I point to our military.

That doesn't mean that the current defense budget isn't bloated. We do not need to have a budget that is greater than what the next 17 countries combined spend on defense, especially when they are (largely) our allies.The wars of the future will be won with intelligence. It doesn't take an army to stop a bunch of guys getting on airplanes with box cutters.

So demanding that the defense budget remain as bloated as it is so that YOU can be super, duper safe today when you know it won't help keep our kid's future safe is selfish! Terribly so!

Whether you want to admit it or not, PBS helps us be an educated society. Its budget covers 6 hours of the Pentagon's budget. So yes, wanting to cut PBS because we "borrow from China" is both shortsighted and selfish.

fiddleback 5 years, 5 months ago

It's sad that Fred's not around anymore to give people an inkling of perspective. He puts this sort of bullying nonsense to shame.

Watch 1969 Senate Hearings on PBS. See more from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

bevy 5 years, 5 months ago

I was in tears listening to this wonderful man defend his philosophy. It reminded me of the interviews that happened when he passed on, with people who said that Mr. Rogers was the only positive thing in their entire childhood. Thanks for sharing it!

gravitykills 5 years, 5 months ago

A half billion a year is just toenail weight. Maybe! But, you just demonstrated a fundamental problem with this country.

In ten years, the US could put 5 billion towards our dept just from cutting one small program. Add ten more similar programs and we're at 50 billion. Add ten more years without those programs and we're at a half trillion.

There are definitely bigger fish out there, but the small ones count too.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

I'd rather cut big programs that provide no tangible benefit to most people than little ones that are beneficial. The focus on public broadcasting is pure distraction, and 100% ideologically driven.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon we're talking about real money.

beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

It is a matter of priorities. What else does Romney want to cut? Has he been specific on anything other than PBS?

PBS, since it helps educate us and (sadly) is the only preschooling many children receive, is a benefit for our society. If we cut in half what we give to oil companies, that would more than pay for PBS. We have our priorities wrong when we put oil before children.

Maddy Griffin 5 years, 5 months ago

PBS is 0.012% of the budget. While Sesame Street could probably stand on it's own with all the merchandise,it is not the only program on PBS. Just the only one Romney could name.He probably wasn't aware of who Lehrer was until the debate.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"Considering the frightenly rampant hate and anger shot at Romney over a fake bird, I can see why he kept the specifics of his plan close to the vest. At least he is transparent."

There was no "hate and anger." There was disagreement, and disbelief that for all his bluster about eliminating the deficit, his only concrete solution was to shoot Big Bird.

I agree, though, that Romney is transparent, as most vacuous spaces are.

tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

In other vacuous people news;

From Andrew Sullivan:

Before the debate, Obama had a 51 - 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 - 45 lead. That's a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama's performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.


tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

From a committed left liberal reporter.

beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

Pruning is a good word to use. Chopping, gutting, axing, destroying, eliminating ... are not. Prune here and prune there, but keep all worthwhile things in tact.

The 20 - 30% cuts, would those apply to the military as well?

It isn't hatred of the man himself to argue against his proposals. I certainly do not hate Romney, nor am I angry at him given that he isn't actually in the position of power to follow through with his claims. Should he become president and cut PBS from the US budget, then I will be angry ... but I still won't hate him.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

And "facts" pulled from your backside could pay for, um, could pay for, um, well probably nothing at all.

GardenMomma 5 years, 5 months ago

Transparent? How transparent is "keeping specifics close to the vest?"

Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

Wouldn't it be more fair to have the people who are raking in the bucks on the Sesame Street merchandising pay more of the toll?

tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

Like a lot of things the government does, one could at least argue that at a point in time there once was a pronounced need for fill-in-the-blank government program. In Western Nebraska and Eastern Wyoming where I spent a good deal of my youth, PBS was often the only TV channel you could get, assuming the last storm hadn’t damaged the antenna. One could at least make a case based on that reality that spending the tax payers money to provide television to the families living in the media desert was a prudent use of that money.

Given the media environment Americans have today, that argument is no longer a valid justification to continue funding PBS. Things have changed.

The new basis to save PBS is based on the relative notion of its supposed “quality” and its sacred cow status reinforced by the comparatively small amount of money involved. Given our dire fiscal problems, neither of these are a rational basis to continue to spend tax money on something the commercial marketplace is orders of magnitude better suited to provide.

This rationale is nonetheless instructive because as the debate begins to make the hard choices about the deep spending cuts we need to make, we will hear this same specious reasoning applied again and again.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Hmm, lots of unsupported assertions, and nothing else.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 5 months ago

“Do I want to send my grandkids, that aren’t even born yet, the bill so they can watch PBS? Of course not. This is ridiculous,” she said.

Apparently it is OK to bill you grandkids for bombs, but not for Big Bird.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Why doesn't he say what the other cuts are then?

We know he's opposed to cutting defense spending, in fact would increase it.

He claims he won't hurt Medicare/SS, although those are the other two large budget items.

beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

We are jumping on the Big Bird thing because that is the ONE cut he said he would make. Of all the things he could talk of to back his proposed $5 trillion, 10 year tax cut, PBS -- a miniscule portion of the budget -- is the ONE thing he can name. Many feel it should not be cut, so yes, we Dems are jumping on it.

GardenMomma 5 years, 5 months ago

0.012% = $0.00012

So, for every dollar of the Federal budget, PBS gets one thousandth of a penny.

tbaker 5 years, 5 months ago

So where is the threshold? At what amount of spending should a country $16 trillion in debt with $60+ trillion in un-funded liabilities and an annual deficit of over $1 trillion begin to say enough is enough, and cut the spending? Please aquint me with the specieis of logic which says it's OK for the most indebted country in the history of the world to continue to spend this money because of it's comparatively small amount.

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