So reads the title of a recent op-ed at a Left wing website, truth-out.org. The piece takes us back to the halcyon days of the Johnson administration, when public broadcasting was heavily subsidized by taxpayers.
“When public broadcasting in America was first established, the intent was that Congress would provide funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which would in turn divide that funding up among the various public television and radio stations across the country.
“This worked great for years.
“The Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio brought educational programming, and independent news and political analysis to millions of Americans.”
But then along came Reagan, who slashed funding for PBS and NPR, leaving them beholden to corporate donors like (gasp!) the Koch brothers. “Independent news and political analysis” is now, bemoans the editorial, a thing of the past. PBS, for instance, yanked a story about money in politics entitled “Citizen Koch,” because the story was unfavorable to the Koch brothers, and, PBS feared, might cause the Kochs to stop donating to public broadcasting (they’ve given $23 million to public television over the years).
It’s worth noting that, according to Matt Lewis at Politics Daily, over the last ten years, the Kochs, in addition to giving money to libertarian causes, have given more than $600 million to charity, the arts, and education, including:
“New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell: $15 million
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: $25 million
The Hospital for Special Surgery: $26 million
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: $30 million
Prostate Cancer Foundation: $41 million
Deerfield Academy: $68 million
Lincoln Center’s NY State Theater: $100 million
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $139 million.”
But, you see, those are private dollars, and, thinks the editorial board at truth-out.org, necessarily bad. The piece concludes by saying that “It’s time to take back our public airwaves, and cut-off the corporate and billionaire control over them, so that David Koch and his buddies don’t get to choose what you watch on TV.
“And the only way to do that is to fully fund public radio and television.”
Funding Big Bird or not won’t make or break the bank, but the notion that government spending is necessarily good and free of corruption explains perpetual trillion-dollar deficits.