Public Broadcasting and Politics

During the first Presidential Debate Mitt Romney said that he would defund Public Broadcasting. His exact words were:

“I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.”

The funding of PBS amounts to less than 1/100 of 1% of the federal budget in 2011.  The 2013 PBS budget lists the federal appropriation at $445,000,000.  Below is the video of Mister Rogers’s eloquent speech about why PBS is important.

If the funding for PBS is cut the major impact will be felt by local rural TV stations that rely on the federal money as a major part of their funding.

Among other things that Romney has said he would cut are the following:

  • Amtrak Subsidy which was $1.56 billion in 2010.
  • National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities subsidy which was $146,020,992 in 2012.

The Oil and Gas industry gets $41 billion in subsidies that Mitt Romney has said he would keep in place.  The big 5 oil companies combined for the first half of 2012 posted a profit of $62.2 billion.  That comes out to $236,000 per minute.

Paul Ryan’s budget that Mitt Romney endorsed goes much farther in what it will cut; the budget passed the house, was called “Robin Hood in reverse on steroids” and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops came out against.  The Romney-Ryan budget also turns Medicare into a voucher system and does increase the costs to current and future seniors.


CPB Fiscal Year 2013 Budget (

LeVar Burton: What Romney doesn’t get about PBS (

National Endowment for the Arts Appropriations History (

Budget hawks: Does US need to give gas and oil companies $41 billion a year? (


6 thoughts on “Public Broadcasting and Politics

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  1. Well done. Ben Affleck on “Real Time with Bill Maher” last night made an important point. For the impoverished (and as you correctly note, rural settings which are likely less affluent than most), PBS’ educational programming serves a vital purpose. In some instances it is a key part of day care in the home. I agree with the general comment that we need to understand the ROI on our spends, but funding PBS is about as close to a no-brainer as possible. From my vantage point, it is my news source, the most unbiased on the planet between BBC World News America and PBS Newshour. Many thanks, BTG


    1. Thanks. PBS is the only station that can be turned on in the morning and left on all day. The news programs also spend more time on news stories and give more than the headline and three bullet points unlike the nightly news. For anyone who says “education is important” it is logical to then support educational programs such as PBS. Although with this specific candidate they say one thing and the next day their campaign comes out and clarifies that they don’t really believe what they said. This election is beyond surreal and this is just one more example of it.


  2. Agreed on the surreal. In the debates, the people want their candidate to give the other one hell, irrespective of the words they use. Romney gave Obama hell, but he changed his positions on at least four policies on which he was running TV ads. Biden was forceful, at times too much, so people are reacting to the force. At least, he was still on his message, whether or not the facts were all 100% correct. I saw an article a few months ago and my belief is they have gotten worse – it said Romney ads had a 32% accuracy rate on the claims while the Obama ads had a 46% accuracy rate. Reversing those numbers, it means Romney is lying (or being kind, embellishing) 2 out of 3 times while the President is doing the same 1 out of 2. Yet, if you set those aside, as an independent, I think the GOP platform is built on a foundation of untruths, so it makes their recommendations off the mark in the first place. Thanks BTG


    1. The 32% accuracy rate is low, however his campaign did come out and say that they were not concerned with “fact checkers” so it isn’t surprising. The 46% for Obama could be higher.


  3. The “not concerned with fact checker” line was a classic. To me, that is a euphemism for lying. I made the comment this AM to my wife, do you know Romney has changed his mind four times on Obamacare the past three weeks and it apparently does not matter. That does not count that he put in a predecessor to Obamacare in Mass. His stance and commercial – Day One – Repeal Obamacare. Three weeks ago he said he would keep the parts that are popular – pre-existing conditions limit on coverage, lifetime limit, etc. His campaign advised him he would have to keep the mandate to do this or it would not work,so he reversed that position in a few days. Then, at the debate – Obamacare works at the state level and we should let the states decide. My wife says it simply about Romney – “I just don’t believe a word that man says.” The fact checkers would concur.


    1. My initial thought and comment about the “fact checker” line was, “At least they admitted that facts don’t matter. Admittance of having an issue is the first step.” Although in this case they went back into denial about not caring about the facts just as soon as they made the statement. 🙂 I have heard from others that they have trouble believing a word that Romney says. He is too much like a used car salesman.


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