Let's talk about funding for Public television

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Posted 10/4/2012 by *Jenny* in NSBR Board
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*Jenny*
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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:12:44 PM
Honestly, I've never given it that much thought.

I can't find current figures and I'm not sure I trust the site that I found numbers, but in 2002 CPB (which is an umbrella over NPR and PBS) received 300 million dollars.

Don't get me wrong. There are shows on PBS that I love. I would miss Antiques Roadshow terribly. There are music specials I enjoy. Nature and History documentaries I like. Our family does watch and enjoy PBS. (none of us listen to NPR...if I'm going to listen to the radio...it's music, baby!)

But is it a necessary expense...necessary enough to borrow the money from China to pay for?

According to this, 84% of American households have cable. Now granted, those 84% probably don't all have hundreds of channels, but I'm guessing there's most likely never a shortage of things to watch on television.

If CPB cannot fund themselves through either corporate sponsors or viewer pledge drives, perhaps they need to decide to sell commercial air time. If there aren't enough viewers and companies pull their commercials, then maybe there aren't enough viewers who find it important enough to watch and it should not be on the air.

Don't want commercials on PBS? How many times do you watch a special on PBS and they break away from programming to spend 10 minutes in front of the phones asking you to call and pledge your support and get your free _________ with a pledge of $______? Honest to God, I'd rather watch commercials than to have to sit through another of those "breaks".

I'm not sure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness includes the government paying for television.

Thoughts?


- Jenny


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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:14:04 PM
Public television should be funded by the PUBLIC, not the government.

I also think that the nature of media has changed drastically since the inception of public television.


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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:24:00 PM
I absolutely LOVE PBS and NPR. But, I don't see any reason why they can't fund themselves through donations or even advertising. They already basically accept advertising, it's just not the same format as the other networks. (Those blurbs at the beginning and ends of shows, brought to you by...)




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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:24:04 PM
Jenny - you read my comment in the other thread?


Public television should be funded by the PUBLIC, not the government


I was going to post that in my post on the debate thread but decided not to because someone would likely twist it.

I think it's a great thing to have and they have some great shows. And it's nice to not have commercial interruption (not counting the fund drives LOL). But gov't should not be financially supporting it. Probably quite a few other things, too.



*Jenny*
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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:26:16 PM
I'm not looking for a fight...really. But can someone, who is in favor of supporting CPB tell me why we should be paying for it with tax dollars? I'd love to see the other side and see if there's a point they address that I hadn't thought of.


- Jenny


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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:26:30 PM
I dunno but I LOL'd at this Tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson:

"Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive"

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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:28:08 PM

dunno but I LOL'd at this Tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson:

"Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive"


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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:31:47 PM
the good pbs does in the education field is worth the tiny bit of federal funding. supporting the children's shows...gives kids a step up., esp poor and non-english speaking kids. .without the commercials for cereal and toys and other crap.

the science shows stay on science instead of sensational shark weeks...

pbs provides curriculum to preschools and elementary schools. it is well worth it. cut subsidies to oil companies and pay for public tv.

*Jenny*
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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:34:33 PM

I dunno but I LOL'd at this Tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson:

"Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive"
Assuming those numbers are factual (and I don't know either way) it is a drop in the bucket. So does that mean that in order to start making cuts to the budget it has to be over a certain percentage? What should that percentage be?

In running my household, I've found that a little bit here and a little bit there eventually adds up enough to make a difference.


- Jenny


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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:38:33 PM

Public television should be funded by the PUBLIC, not the government.


The only reason it's called public television is because the public DO pay for it. I enjoy PTV -- but I'm sure it could survive with private support....and we'd just give it another name.

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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:51:29 PM
There's no doubt this type of tv is valuable; there's an audience for it. I don't think however, it should be funded by gov't.

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Posted: 10/4/2012 12:57:14 PM
I think there was a time, back when even major markets only had 3 networks, 2 local channels and PBS, that it made sense for the government to fund public television. With limited channels there were shows on PBS that would not have been on the air otherwise and they were shows that I believe had value. Two things have changed since then.

First, there is the commercialization of PBS shows. How much money does Sesame Street merchandise bring in per year and how much of that revenue goes back to back to support public television? and Barney and Arthur, etc

Second, most of us have access to dozens if not hundreds of channels. The shows on PBS would find a home on other stations. There is no longer a need for publicly funded television.

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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:05:29 PM

the good pbs does in the education field is worth the tiny bit of federal funding. supporting the children's shows...gives kids a step up., esp poor and non-english speaking kids. .without the commercials for cereal and toys and other crap.

the science shows stay on science instead of sensational shark weeks...

pbs provides curriculum to preschools and elementary schools. it is well worth it. cut subsidies to oil companies and pay for public tv.


I agree with this

that said it's not a hill I'd be willing to die on either. I think if push came to shove, NPR and PBS could get the funding they need (I'm a die hard NPR listener and I do pledge)


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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:11:24 PM
I grew up on PBS. My parents basically had it on all the time. MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour at dinner then Masterpiece Theater or Mystery, Jacques Cousteau or This Old House. Good Times.

That was then, this is now. It's time to stop government funding of PBS.

My parents watched Wall Street Week in Review religiously. There is no real need for that in a world with CNBC. McGlaughlin Group seems positively tame in a world with MSNBC and Fox. Who needs This Old House and Hometime when there is HGTV?

Things that PBS did first and did well are now done lots of other places without our government funding them.

I don't have cable and would be sad if our local PBS channels went away. However I doubt that would happen. They have fund drives already and commercials (what used to be a one line 'This program was underwritten by... has become a minute long commercial). Many of the shows have tons of external licensing income streams (particularly the childrens shows).

If PBS continues to produce quality programs then they will thrive in the free market.





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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:13:51 PM
I used to give yearly during the PBS fund drive. I couldn't give a large amount at the time, but my kids got so much from public television -I gave what I could.

They then spent many times over what I had given them trying to get more money from me - then sold my name to other fundraising entities (I know this as a fact because I used a special spelling of my name).

I no longer give any $$ to them or Red Cross - I only donate local.

I guess this is going off the subject of it - but I could see where they are having major issues getting public funding.


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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:17:16 PM
I love love love PBS, but I do not see any reason why it should receive any more money than any other network. It isn't a matter of if it would put a dent in the budget or not.


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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:17:48 PM
Here's a non-politically-biased look at it: TaxGirl Article

Long story short: it is barely even a drop in the bucket. To focus on CPB as a national budgetary problem would be like an average Pea working on their personal budget by cutting out 1-2 foofy coffee drinks A YEAR. Sure "every little bit helps," but it's laughable to spend any amount of time talking about it as a budget fixer. Tell me what you'll do to fix/cut/increase revenue from the other - must be hundreds if not thousands - of other line items that are bigger than the CPB expenditure.

IMHO, the good the CPB does far outweighs the negligable expense of the federal funding they're given.

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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:23:57 PM
Sesame Street sells their brand in many places as do many of their childrens programming. I hope they receive enough monies through that to begin to be self-sustaining.

I do know that SS has been instrumental in many important public issues including poverty, returning soldiers, 9/11, etc. I would have no issue with the Fed. funding of some special programs such as those.


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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:25:34 PM

would be like an average Pea working on their personal budget by cutting out 1-2 foofy coffee drinks A YEAR.


But if said Pea had to borrow the money for those drinks and then pay interest on them, not one single person would say that it's something that should be done.

It's not the funding itself - it's the fact that the US is borrowing money for what amounts to non-essential services.


Carla




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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:35:52 PM
PBS is America's largest classroom. There are so many people who do not have cable, but have small children in their home. I think the minimal amount of money given to PBS is well worth the excellent shows for children without cable would miss if Robney takes it away.

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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:36:57 PM
Keep in mind the portion of government money is extremely small at PBS (2010 about 12 % ) - I seriously doubt they're going to disappear if that went away.



*Jenny*
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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:36:59 PM
Like BF said...if you've got to borrow the money and pay interest on the money to pay for that one foofy drink, then you don't need it.


- Jenny


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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:37:38 PM
And frankly, if I'm at home figuring out my budget and things are tight, if I only have two foo foo drinks a year, and I'm in the hole, then yes, those things go. Same sitch. This mess isn't going to be solved by one huge cut. Lots and lots of small, even apparently miniscule, cuts are going to be needed to help this mountain we find ourselves under.

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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:39:26 PM
We choose not to have cable, we do have and enjoy PBS. There are only 2 in my home and we don't watch that much television. There is enough on network tv to satisfy us. I do enjoy cable when we travel and if we are visiting our parents. With that being said, I don't think the govt should be paying for PBS when the deficit is out of control. Cuts have to be made, even small cuts add up. It might make people wake up and support it if they thought they were in danger of losing it.


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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:48:19 PM

This mess isn't going to be solved by one huge cut. Lots and lots of small, even apparently miniscule, cuts are going to be needed to help this mountain we find ourselves under.


EXACTLY!! When you need to cut costs you don't find just the biggest cost and cut that one out (or say to hell with it, it can't be done). You trim a little here and a little there. You turn the thermostat a little lower to save on the heat bill - even if it's just a degree or two. You buy the less expensive cuts of meat.

What's that saying... how do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time...



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Posted: 10/4/2012 1:53:44 PM
I love love love PBS, but I do not see any reason why it should receive any more money than any other network. It isn't a matter of if it would put a dent in the budget or not.


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Posted: 10/4/2012 2:02:44 PM
In addition to everything stated above, it's not as if PBS would cease to exist - or at least the supported programming. It will either find a home on network television or it will be privately funded either through advertising or individuals as it currently stands.

There's nothing inherently evil about advertising on network television and there's no reason that PBS can't adopt the same format except that they somehow seem to want to hold themselves above it, all while taking money from the government.

Television is not a right and it's definitely not a necessity.


Carla




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Posted: 10/4/2012 2:06:37 PM
I agree w/the other peas in their assesment. If we have to borrow 5 cents from china... then it's wasteful spending, no matter what the 5 cents is being spent on. And that's where I have a problem w/gov't spending. Those little miniscule bits and pieces all add up and is part of the big overspending problem. By defending big bird, the gov't isn't seeing the big picture.

But you'd think with all of Sesame Street's income from marketing rights, etc, wouldn't that be enough to sustain itself? Heck...I swear we have spent a couple of hundred dollars worth of s.street toys,books (omg the books) videos, and stuffed animals just in our household between my 2 boys lives.

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Posted: 10/4/2012 2:08:31 PM
I love PBS and NPR, but I don't think the government needs to be subsidizing either one. I have never contributed a dime to either PBS or NPR, because I have always figured I was paying for them w/ my taxes. If I felt there was a serious danger of either NPR or PBS going off the air due to the loss of government funds, I'd make a contribution and I'm sure others would also.


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Posted: 10/4/2012 4:02:55 PM
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting only provides 20% of the total funding for PBS and NPR. The Corporation was founded by Congress in 1967 to channel the funding from the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 signed by President Johnson.

For FY 2012, the CPB received $445 million dollars from Congress. 72% of that went directly to various stations. By law, administrative costs must be less than 5%.

BTW the share of Federal Funding has been decreasing over the last 20 years. With reduced Government funding has come reduced input by the government over programming.

I would not mind if the Federal Government got out of funding, condition in 1967 were very different from what we have today.


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Posted: 10/4/2012 4:11:43 PM

I dunno but I LOL'd at this Tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson:

"Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive"
I only wonder how many of these "little" things we could cut that would add up to a lot. Sure, this might not be a big part of the budget. But it's still there, draining money. I bet there are a lot of this type of thing that could be cut from the budget.


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Posted: 10/4/2012 4:20:09 PM
Love my cable tv, watch too much of it. However, if I was broke, I wouldn't charge the bill on a credit card. I'd cancel cable.

It would make me sad to see PBS go. It would make me sad to see it change into just another reality tv pimping network. It would make me sad to think we don't have "public television." But it makes me sadder to see us going deeper and deeper into debt.

On the other hand, that doesn't at all make me want to vote for Romney. Doesn't even TEMPT me. Because I don't believe he'd actually be able to cut it.

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Posted: 10/4/2012 4:22:38 PM
When you're talking about a budget, which would be nice to have by the way, and you see that you're in the hole and borrowing to try to make up for that, you start with the easy and obvious cuts. Funding for public television, while not the biggest chunk of the {non-existant} budget, is an easy and obvious cut.


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Posted: 10/4/2012 4:25:22 PM

I dunno but I LOL'd at this Tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson:

"Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive"

This attitude about cuts drives me nuts. A lot of small cuts add up to big money. If the amount PBS receives from the government is that small compared to their total budget, I would think they could raise it in other ways.

Every time a pea comes on here and posts about wanting suggestions on how to cut their budget, the suggestions go from very small cuts in their budget to giving up big expenses. Why shouldn't the Federal government have to look at how they are spending money the same way?





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Posted: 10/4/2012 4:49:14 PM

Every time a pea comes on here and posts about wanting suggestions on how to cut their budget, the suggestions go from very small cuts in their budget to giving up big expenses. Why shouldn't the Federal government have to look at how they are spending money the same way?
Great point!

This is just like an individual trying to cut their budget. One of the first things people say is to cut cable. Sure, it's jut one relatively small bill but it is a luxury not a necessity.

PBS/NPR/CPB is the federal government's cable bill.




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Posted: 10/4/2012 5:00:22 PM
I say cut it and let private industry fund it. I also am so tired of the commercials to donate.

I agree it might not be much, but its a start.



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Posted: 10/4/2012 5:04:37 PM
Fully support elimintating federal tax dollars funding PBS. Even if it's a small amount and certainly won't solve the budget mess, it's still not something the federal government should be spending money on.



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Posted: 10/4/2012 5:18:46 PM
We have some serious love for PBS and their children and science shows. Our love for big bird and cookie monster knows no bounds. But, the government should not be footing the bill for any part of PBS' production costs. Even if it is just a drop in the bucket. It's wasteful spending on something that could probably fund itself. They have the fundraisers x times a year, they sell the merchandise everywhere. It would not be the end of the world if they started airing advertisements a couple of times/show.



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Posted: 10/4/2012 5:22:01 PM

No television shows should be funded by the government.


You're right. They should all be funded by Fisher Price and Viagra.

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Posted: 10/4/2012 5:29:09 PM

I dunno but I LOL'd at this Tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson:

"Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive"

This attitude about cuts drives me nuts. A lot of small cuts add up to big money. If the amount PBS receives from the government is that small compared to their total budget, I would think they could raise it in other ways.

Every time a pea comes on here and posts about wanting suggestions on how to cut their budget, the suggestions go from very small cuts in their budget to giving up big expenses. Why shouldn't the Federal government have to look at how they are spending OUR money the same way?


I was about to post the same thing. It's ridiculous to think it doesn't count, so why waste your time!!!

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Posted: 10/4/2012 5:42:20 PM

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting only provides 20% of the total funding for PBS and NPR. The Corporation was founded by Congress in 1967 to channel the funding from the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 signed by President Johnson.

For FY 2012, the CPB received $445 million dollars from Congress. 72% of that went directly to various stations. By law, administrative costs must be less than 5%.

Thank you for the figures.


- Jenny


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Posted: 10/4/2012 5:47:17 PM

I was about to post the same thing. It's ridiculous to think it doesn't count, so why waste your time!!!


I think the issue isn't that it's a bad idea to look at every little thing; that's always valid. It's that in the context it was thrown out there as a cut, it's a drop in the bucket. Yet it was apparently couched as some kind of game-changer. Like all our country's woes would end if only we got rid of the money-sucking government funding for educational television.

IMHO, most of the best PBS programming comes from Canada and Great Britain anyway -- I wonder why?

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Posted: 10/4/2012 6:01:13 PM

Yet it was apparently couched as some kind of game-changer. Like all our country's woes would end if only we got rid of the money-sucking government funding for educational television.

I can assure you that I realize (and I'm fairly certain everyone on this thread realizes) that this nation is not in trouble solely because of CPB spending over the years.


- Jenny


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Posted: 10/4/2012 6:06:33 PM

I think the issue isn't that it's a bad idea to look at every little thing; that's always valid. It's that in the context it was thrown out there as a cut, it's a drop in the bucket. Yet it was apparently couched as some kind of game-changer.


MR specifically said, "I plan to cut everything that does not require funding from China" and then minimizes the severity of that statement by referring to cutting Big Birds budget. I really wish, at that point that BO would've asked just exactly what those cuts were. "Can you tell Mitt, in your opinion, what ARE the top 5 items you believe do not require China's money". I want the answer to that.

Instead, everyone rode the big bird wave without actually acknowledging that that yes, MR plans to cut music and arts programs from the budget.

It was incredibly tiring to see the debate yesterday because they were both busy being too polite to each other. This voter wants answers.

*Jenny*
It's like the Twilight Zone

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Posted: 10/4/2012 6:19:18 PM

MR specifically said, "I plan to cut everything that does not require funding from China" and then minimizes the severity of that statement by referring to cutting Big Birds budget. I really wish, at that point that BO would've asked just exactly what those cuts were. "Can you tell Mitt, in your opinion, what ARE the top 5 items you believe do not require China's money". I want the answer to that.

Instead, everyone rode the big bird wave without actually acknowledging that that yes, MR plans to cut music and arts programs from the budget.
By music and arts are you referring to the music and arts on public television or other music and arts? In addition, Romney didn't specifically say "I plan to cut everything that does not require funding from China". What he said was

"What things would I cut from spending? Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test, if they don't pass it: Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I'll get rid of it." which translates to...I will look at all programs and decide if they're critical enough to warrant borrowing money from China to pay for. IMO, CPB is not critical enough to warrant borrowing money to fund.


- Jenny


pafer
PeaFixture

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Posted: 10/4/2012 6:39:19 PM

it is barely even a drop in the bucket. To focus on CPB as a national budgetary problem would be like an average Pea working on their personal budget by cutting out 1-2 foofy coffee drinks A YEAR. Sure "every little bit helps," but it's laughable to spend any amount of time talking about it as a budget fixer. Tell me what you'll do to fix/cut/increase revenue from the other - must be hundreds if not thousands - of other line items that are bigger than the CPB expenditure.


Big Bird was one example and in my opinion a good one, of the many items in the Federal budget that probably need to be looked at a little more realistically in this economic crisis we are in. We cannot continue to spend what we don't have. We owe China enough already. If American households are feeling the squeeze and having to make cuts in their personal budgets to buy groceries Big Bird should not be funded. This was the point that Romney was trying to make and Big Bird was just the example he choose to use.

peasbkind
Right . . . where I ought to be!

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Posted: 10/4/2012 7:00:51 PM
I am 100% opposed to government funding for public television. No ifs, ands, or buts!


OLW 2012 == authentic



Dani-Mani
PEAdiatric pea

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Posted: 10/4/2012 7:24:56 PM
No, they shouldn't cut funding.

But I'm incredibly biased as I've strongly considered working as a PhD for the Sesame Street Foundation (Sesame Workshop) and know people who do. I know the research on public broadcasting, know it well, and will support whatever I can to continue to increase educational opportunities and experiences for children, esp low income children.




peapermint
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 10/4/2012 7:37:26 PM
I guess it proves I'm liberal, because what popped into my head is that I'd ask myself, "Is it worth raising my taxes to pay for this?" And, for me, public television would pass that test. Especially when I think of the public TV of the '70s and the mission of serving inner-city kids, etc.

I would pay more taxes rather than borrow more money from China.

MontanaCowgirl
TaWanDa Riot!

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Posted: 10/4/2012 7:52:54 PM
lets see, the government subsidizes... the

privately owned train system in the US
privately owned farms and mega farms in the US
has repeatedly bailed out the privately owned airlines in the US
privately owned oil companies in the US



and you all want to start the "drop in the bucket" penny pinching at the children's and elderly's expense.

Do you realize most of the rural US depends on PBS for it's news, farm reports, childrens programing and cultural programs? Most of us still use antennas to get the only one or two channels we have access to.

I've yet to see any of those "other" entities mentioned on this thread but by all means, lets go after PBS.


Stephi

"people generally see what they look for,
and hear what they listen for.

-To Kill a Mockingbird-



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