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‘Bout Time: Trump Budget Defunds Corporation For Public Broadcasting

Trump budget
President Trump's newly proposed budget includes a proposal to end federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), reports Joe Concha of The Hill.

CPB provides federal funding for PBS and National Public Radio stations.

"The Budget proposes to eliminate Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) over a two-year period," according to Concha’s report on the proposal.

"CPB grants represent a small share of the total funding for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), which primarily rely on private donations to fund their operations," explains the budget proposal narrative.

"To conduct an orderly transition away from Federal funding, the Budget requests $15.5 million in 2019 and $15 million in 2020, which would include funding for personnel costs of $16.2 million, rental costs of $8.9 million; and other costs totaling $5.4 million."

Conservatives were generally supportive of the plan, with Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning quickly issuing a statement in support of that provision of President Donald Trump’s budget:

The Trump budget would end federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with $60 million over 2020 and 2021 being used for close-out costs and transitioning to a non-federally funded model. This limits the size and scope of government and gets Washington, D.C. out of the business of broadcasting in the streaming age with thousands of options for programming on television, the computer and radio. The fact is stations that directly benefit from CPB whether on NPR or PBS can survive on their own without federal dollars. Public television stations only get about 15 percent of their money from the federal government. They won’t miss it, and might even raise more money without it by losing the stigma of being publicly funded.

If Congress won’t end this extravagance when our $22 trillion national debt poses an existential threat to our nation, it is hard to imagine them making much harder choices in the future. There is simply no reason not to embrace ending funding for a vanity program that is self-sustaining without taxpayer dollars.  President Trump has provided a 15-year pathway to balance and Congress would be well served to get aggressive on their Excel spreadsheets and cut even more to save our nation from fiscal ruin.

When President Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act on Nov. 7, 1967, he spoke of a future in which non-commercial broadcasters would function as nationwide replicas of Ancient Greece's "agora," or marketplace. But he added a dark warning: If mishandled, they could "generate controversy without understanding ... mislead as well as teach."

Conservatives quickly realized it was not going to be the agora.

As Mike Gonzalez explained in an article for the Heritage Foundation, PBS wasn't yet a year old in 1971 when a 35-year-old White House lawyer warned President Nixon that they were being "confronted with a long-range problem of significant social consequences -- that is, the development of a government-funded broadcast system similar to the BBC."

That lawyer was future Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. As usual, he was right on the money. Since then, there have been efforts under every Republican administration except Gerald Ford's to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the vehicle for funding PBS and NPR.

Republican presidents keep trying to stop taxpayer funding of the CPB for a simple reason: While PBS, NPR, Pacifica Radio, American Public Media and all the other public broadcasters create what is unquestionably a quality product, that product skews to the left.

NPR and PBS insist they just report the news with no bias. And it is true that NPR, PBS, et al, do not broadcast government propaganda. (If they did, they wouldn't be so hard on the Trump administration.)

What they do represent are the views of a particular group -- those of the politically correct elite left -- whose assumptions frame public affairs programming on public broadcasting. This group is comprised of a bien pensant coalition of government bureaucrats, academics, entertainers, philanthropists, ethnic group activists, corporate leaders, etc., many of whom control America's cultural institutions.

Through the vehicle of public affairs and news programming funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcast, this elite coalition drives media narratives that reinforce their continued control of America’s cultural environment. Far from creating an open agora-like marketplace for news and entertainment, what the Corporation for Public Broadcasting serves-up is news and culture viewed through the lens of America’s urban elite.

The urban elite already have CNN, MSNBC, the legacy broadcast networks, the production companies that serve them, and the arts establishment at every level of delivery. Why should taxpayers, who have to go to the bottom of the dial or the 800s on their cable box to find conservative commentary, gospel music, a show about fishing, or a John Wayne movie be forced to subsidize content that caters to a narrow elite that despises them?

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Defund more agencies

The c.i.a. should also be defunded as well the federal dept of indoctrination (education?) because they provide no beneficial service to our country.