Tax-financed public broadcasting

I’ve met some of the people from WVPT and they’re nice folks — good citizens. I’m sorry their jobs are in jeopardy as tax-financed funding for public broadcasting dries up. However, tax financing is not about keeping people employed in jobs that are not self-supporting, it’s about funding the legitimate functions of government. That does not include public broadcasting.

Here are three good reasons to de-fund public broadcasting and let it have a go at being self-supporting:

1. It’s for the rich. Who do you think is watching Masterpiece Theater? That audience can afford to pay for its programming.

2. It does so little local programming. Most public TV stations spend huge amounts of money supporting the national organization’s programming — but that so often duplicates what’s already available: news, commentary, cultural programming.

3. It’s left-leaning, which is fine in itself, but not when it’s combined with public funding. It means that everyone’s money funds a particular point of view. Taking everybody’s money to fund a particular political viewpoint is just wrong.

5 thoughts on “Tax-financed public broadcasting”

  1. All you said is correct. I remember when WVPT started and as I recollect, the funding was intended to be from viewers. I donated to them for a few years. Not sure when the government got involved but when I realized it was being funded with taxpayers dollars, I discontinued my meager help.
    Now, if the government stays out of it, I may contribute again as I do enjoy some of their programs…..including Masterpiece Theater, on occasion (:
    Now if we can get public funds away from groups like Planned Parenthood and their ilk and back to taking care of core government responsibilities , we will all be better off as will our children’s futures

  2. We never know what beneficial effects public funding of a broadcast resource like this may have. How about a kid who learns about Dickens from Masterpiece Theater? Or science from watching Nova? Or preschoolers who learn their ABC’s and numbers, even though they’re from a disadvantaged background, because of Sesame Street?

    1. Agreed. Public funding is providing an excellent educational source and should be encouraged. But not government funding, because radio and TV are not core government responsibilities.
      I would much rather make my charitable contribution decisions myself than depend on the government to make them for me, especially given it’s questionable record.

  3. Libertarian– you say WVTP is left learning. Well, certainly it would be left of dead right. But “left leaning”?

    Here is this afternoon’s lineup:
    Virginia Currents (profiles of Virginians)
    Need To Know (covering how Norfolk copes with flooding)
    Edge of the Everglades
    Virginia’s Great TV Auction
    Tommy Tangs Easy Thai Cooking
    Rick Steve’s Europe

    Am I missing something? Do these sound like “leftist” programs? Do you have examples of some that you consider “left leaning”?

    Actually they sound like interesting programs, often with topics of interest to Virginians, that wouldn’t be carried on local network TV stations and I find them of value. And I contribute.

  4. Actually the point isn’t that WVPT is or isn’t left-leaning — it’s that the public broadcasting system as a whole is. (WVPT’s small amount of locally originated programming doesn’t seem ideological to me.) The local affiliates only serve as the money machine. And I commend you for supporting WVPT with your contributions. When all of public broadcasting goes to a non-taxpayer-funded support model, we don’t even need to have the discussion about ideology. MSNBC is left-leaning, supported by advertising and cable fees. Fox is right-leaning, supported by advertising and cable fees. I don’t watch either and — most importantly — my property is not taken by force to support them.

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