Guinta Lies About “Far-Reaching and Extremely Negative Consequences” of Defunding Big Bird, Public Television in NH
CONCORD, NH –Congressman Frank Guinta misled voters about NH Public Radio and NH Public Television during a debate last week – creating questions about what other mistruths he’s presented during his recent campaign appearances.
In response to a WBIN debate question about whether the Congressman would fire Big Bird (answer: yes) Frank Guinta told the panel and voters that the public broadcasting system should be privatized. He backed up his policy position by implying he had the support of NH public radio and NH public television in this stance:
“I believe that NH Public Radio, NH Public Television feel very, very strongly that they can do this on their own. And they mention it, they state it.” – Frank Guinta, WBIN Debate, 10/9/12
The public record shows a different story from Frank Guinta’s assertions. NH Public Radio (NHPR) actually doesn’t receive “any regular direct funding from local, state or federal governments” and contributions from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting account for “less than 10% of NHPR annual income.”1 NHPR is, largely, doing it on their own already – so what they would have ‘mentioned’ or ‘stated’ to Congressman Guinta is a bit of a question.
NH Public Television is on record opposing cuts in public support. NHPTV President and CEO Peter Frid told state legislators2 this session that cutting state funding for the station “would have immediate, far-reaching and extremely negative consequences on our capacity to serve the citizens of the Granite State.” His testimony before both the House and Senate cited the damage the removal of funding would do to the state’s educational programming as well as to public safety services NHPTV provides in local communities. In all: no suggestion of feeling “very, very strongly” about eliminating support for broadcasting in the public interest.
“Time and time again, Frank Guinta has shown he’s willing to stretch the truth,” said Taylor Coots, District Director for Credo Super PAC. “He remains under investigation by the FEC for his mysterious $350,000 bank account. He was named one of the most corrupt politicians in Congress by the independent non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Frank Guinta continues to prove he is unfit for public office.”
“Congressman Guinta should be more concerned about closing corporate tax loopholes than shutting down public broadcasting,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “Congressman Guinta supports the Ryan budget, which provides no concrete plan for lowering the deficit.3 The best way to deal with the deficit is to put Americans back to work, not fire Big Bird. Frank Guinta’s misguided priorities and unfounded statements are the wrong direction for our country.”
As several news outlets and PBS pointed out, ‘firing Big Bird’ would do little to lower the federal deficit: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting which distributes federal grants to PBS member stations received $445 million in funding this year. That’s 1/100 of one percent of the federal budget.4
Credo has launched an online petition to tell Frank Guinta to stop using PBS as his punching bag. It can be found at http://www.takedownguinta.com/hands_off_pbs.
. NHPR, Does NHPR receive funding from government sources, http://info.nhpr.org/faq/membership-and-support-0; accessed 10.10.12
2. NHPR, TESTIMONY OF PETER FRID, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF NEW HAMPSHIRE PUBLIC TELEVISION REGARDING HOUSE BILL 113 House Finance Committee, January 19, 2011, http://www.nhptv.org/counts/pdf/HB113_peter_frid_testimony_1-19-11.pdf & NHPR, TESTIMONY BEFORE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE IN OPPOSITION TO HB 113, March 31, 2011, http://www.nhptv.org/counts/pdf/PAF_Testimony_senate_finance.pdf – The bill in question above, HB 113, passed the House, but was ultimately tabled in the Senate. NHPTV still lost substantial funding during the budget process though, causing the station to lay-off 20 people, suspend educational and local programming – including NH Outlook and Granite State Challenge – and make other substantial changes. The station has operated for more than 50 years. [Press Release: NHPTV Restructures Due To Elimination Of $2.7 Million State Appropriation, 6/1/2011, www.nhptv.org/pressroom]
3. Media Matters, 7 Things the Media Needs to Know about Paul Ryan, 8.11.12, http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/08/11/seven-things-the-media-needs-to-know-about-paul/189277#fraudulent
4. “No debate about it: Big Bird is small potatoes when it comes to federal budget.”Chicago Sun-Times, Oct. 4, 2012.