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Grant Bosse Has It All Wrong, PBS Is The Last Cut We Should Make

Let me start by saying that Grant makes some good points in his article “Big Bird doesn’t need our help: PBS subsidy is the easiest budget cut in Washington” however I take complete offense to his closing statement.

“This debate over funding PBS is actually quite informative. Anyone who insists we still need it obviously doesn’t really care about fixing the deficit, and needn’t be taken seriously.”

The debate on cutting PBS as the first and ‘easiest’ choice is retarded. That’s like taking a ladle of water out of a lake.  Grant even agrees with me on this.

“The half-billion dollars we spend on public broadcasting isn’t much compared to a trillion-dollar annual deficit and a $16 trillion debt”

He is right, Big Bird will be just fine.  Sesame Street is the largest revenue producer for PBS Television.  What Grant does not seem to understand is that Public Television is the only option for some poor children.  So when he says we need to “stop subsidizing upper-middle-class television” he could not be further from the truth.

PBS is watched by four out of five children under five years old.  Why is that? Because they are the best education programing on TV.

“PBS had five of the top 10 programs among mothers of young children in August 2012, and five of the top 10 programs for kids age two to five. (NielsenNPower, 8/2012)”.

According to a study done by Princeton University, PBS has “six of the top eight children’s shows” on TV. LaVar Burton said it best in his editorial to CNN (Note: I encourage everyone to read this)

“PBS offers kids television shows that are free — and especially free of hard-sell commercials and corporate points of view. PBS educates our children.”

Recently a study was done showing the direct impact from PBS educational programming and low-income children.  Without going it to too much detail, they said

“Educational television shows like Sesame Street and Between the Lions have shown positive effects on literacy skills”

People love and trust PBS.

“A survey this year said Americans consider PBS the most trusted public institution and the second-most valuable use of public funds behind only national defense.” (emphasis added)

You may think that nobody is really watching PBS well you would be wrong.

“PBS’ primetime audience is significantly larger than many commercial channels, including Bravo (PBS’ audience is 92% larger), TLC (88%), Discovery Channel (69%), HGTV (64%), HBO (62%) and A&E (29%). In addition, PBS’ primetime rating for news and public affairs programming is 91% higher than that of CNN. (Nielsen Power, 9/19/2011-9/9/2012)”

As I stated in my previous post on Romney and Sesame Street, the $440 million dollars that PBS gets is like seed money. For every dollar they are give they raise six more. All of which is reinvested into PBS shows and broadcasting.  PBS also uses this money to help teacher and parents. They created PBS Learing Media a free, online media-on-demand service developed for educators featuring photos, video, audio files and more with lesson plans, background essays, and discussion questions.

So now that you know why PBS has been around for over four decades and continues to go stronger. This is a strong investment in our future.  It is an investment in our children.  It is an aide to teachers, and parents.  All provided for by a tiny fraction of the US Budget.

Grant is right, we have a rising debt problem, however cutting PBS should be the last thing we should ever do.  Before you talk about cutting Big Bird out of the budget lets talk about some of the other cuts we can make?  Lets talk about raising revenue? Lets talk about cutting other subsidies like oil?  After we have exhausted all of those options and then we still need to make cuts, then and only then, should we discuss cutting PBS.



About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News
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