Friday, June 10, 2005
The Washington Post reports that yesterday the House Subcommittee on labor, health and human services, and "education", expressed its dedication to early learning and equal educational access for all economic classes by voting to slash 25% of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's budget, a quarter of which will be aimed at children's educational programming, like Sesame Street and that Margaret Spelling bete noire, Postcards From Buster. As WaPo says, this will be the most drastic cut in the CPB budget since it was created by Congress in 1967. It could result in the death of the programs many of us grew up with, and learned from. Even Nixon couldn't kill it. But Nixon was no 2005 Republican yahoo with control of all 3 branches of government and a propaganda arm any totalitarian regime would die for. But not to worry. It should only affect liberals, minorities, the rural, and the poor:
"Small public radio stations, particularly those in rural areas and those serving minority audiences, may be the most vulnerable to federal cuts because they currently operate on shoestring budgets.No, this has nothing at all to do with Republican hatchetman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, who has been making murderous noises about the agency put under his watchful eye. Nothing to do with a bloated budget that can make room for a bridge in Alaska to nowhere that no one will use, but needs to hack kids' programs that help them learn to read.
"This could literally put us out of business," said Paul Stankavich, president and general manager of the Alaska Public Radio Network, an alliance of 26 stations in the state that create and share news programming. "Almost all of us are down to the bone right now. If we lost 5 or 10 percent of our budgets in one fell swoop, we could end up being just a repeater service" for national news, with no funds to produce local content.
Stankavich, who also runs a public radio and TV station in Anchorage, said public radio is "an important source of news in urban areas, but it's life-critical in rural areas," especially in far-flung parts of Alaska unserved by any other broadcast medium."
"Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), the subcommittee's chairman, said the cuts had nothing to do with dissatisfaction over public radio or TV programs. "It's pretty simple," he said in an interview. "The thinking was, there's not enough money for everything. There are 'must-do,' 'need-to-do' and 'nice-to-do' programs that we have to pay for. [Public broadcasting] is somewhere between a 'need-to-do' and a 'nice-to-do.'But college grants WERE cut. Oh, I forgot. After all that money they lost in Iraq, it has to be made up somewhere, doesn't it? And kids don't need to read in order to shoulder a gun and kill someone, when all is said and done.
The subcommittee had to decide, he said, on cutting money for public broadcasting or cutting college grants, special education, worker retraining and health care programs. "No one's out to get" public broadcasting, Regula said. "It's not punitive in any way."