“Last month, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to completely eliminate federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Let me assure you that I will do everything I can to oppose this misguided Republican initiative and make certain that the CPB continues to receive adequate funding.
For more than 40 years, CPB has provided funding for vital educational, cultural and current affairs programs through National Public Radio (NPR), the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and its affiliate stations. Grants from CPB comprise a very small, but vital, portion of the operating budgets at NPR and PBS - which receive most of their funding from donations from listeners and viewers, and from sponsorships, programming fees and grants from foundations.
In my opinion, the federal funding provided through CPB has allowed NPR and PBS to offer immensely valuable programming. As the grandfather of six, I am especially impressed by their children’s programs, including such excellent shows as Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow, the Electric Company and 3-2-1 Contact. Cultural programs like Great Performances, Live from the Metropolitan Opera, and Evening at the Pops are other examples of high-value programming that would not be profitable on commercial stations. Funding also allows NPR to provide comprehensive news programs like All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Marketplace, and diverse programming like from Fresh Air to Car Talk.
NPR and PBS also provide some of the highest quality and most objective news reporting in the world. Over the last several decades, as the major broadcasting firms were purchased by corporate conglomerates, support for effective, independent newsrooms has waned. The broadcast news industry, both television and radio, now is vastly transformed. Driven by profits and a 24-hour news cycle, much of the ‘news’ has been dumbed-down and sensationalized and does not reflect the needs of a democracy in which citizens have a right to hear balanced and thoughtful discussion about the most pressing issues facing our nation and the world. The news programming offered by NPR and PBS is the great exception to this trend, and preserving funding for these essential services is necessary to maintaining an honest, lively national debate.”