The Death of PBS
One of the cornerstones of every political campaign is education, and rightly so. When the U.S.’ world rankings in education are sitting at #17 in Reading, #24 in Science, and #27 in Math, and with countries like France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Finland leading us in all three categories, there must be something that is going wrong with the American education system.
But, how does the government manage to close the educational achievement gap, efficiently and effectively? According to the House Budget Committee,
“Among its core responsibilities, the federal government is tasked with providing for the common defense, securing American borders, protecting innocent life, upholding laws and constitutional rights, ensuring domestic tranquility, and promoting equal opportunity for all Americans.”
Government spending at the federal level should go to help all. By focusing only on spending that only benefits the elite, we forget to fund programs that help Americans as a whole, such as:
- Single-Payer Healthcare
- Veteran Benefits
- And, Improving Schools and Education
After all, the House Budget Committee pointed out, for themselves, that some of the primary priorities of federal budgeting include, “protecting innocent life” and “promoting equal opportunity for all Americans.” That is where public media comes in.
Public media started to become what it is today with the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, which,
“established a vision for media that would be used for ‘instructional, educational, and cultural purposes,’ and encouraged ‘the development of programming that involves creative risks and that addresses the needs of unserved and underserved audiences, particularly children and minorities.”
Now, 99% of Americans receive public television. And, not only does public media represent a major source of fact-based news and educational content, but it also strengthens communities and is critical for those in small towns and in rural and underserved areas. From expanding opportunity, beginning with proven children’s educational content to providing essential news and information, as well as ensuring public safety and homeland security through emergency alerts, public media proves time and time again to be a vital investment.
It is for this reason that increasing the U.S.’ rankings among the world in education, protecting innocent life, and promoting equal opportunity for all Americans, will not be accomplished by simply defunding and eliminating the CPB and PBS, whose strong on-air reach, and whose high value and trust among the American people, has been helping to close the achievement gap since 1967.
But, what exactly is the CPB? The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, or CPB, is the steward of the federal government’s investment into public broadcasting. It supports nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. It operates on a budget of a mere $445 million, where 70% of which goes straight to local stations and only 5% goes to the CPB’s operating expenses. That breaks down to public media costing only $1.35 per citizen per year.
What that $1.35 goes to is funding the CPB’s station grantees. There are 408 station grantees that represent 1,136 radio stations, and 167 grantees that represent 362 TV stations. What is very worth noting about that is that 248 of those 575 grantees are in rural, underserved areas of the country, that may not have access to educational media otherwise.
Through their efforts, like providing financial support to the Code of Editorial Integrity for Local Public Media Organizations which is a station-led effort to renew core principles of editorial integrity amid evolving roles and expectations, new technology and platforms, and shifting notions of accountability and transparency, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting aims to accomplish its mission of ensuring universal access to non-commercial, high quality content, and telecommunication services. One of the major ways it accomplishes that mission is through PBS.