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John Stossel: PBS, Pay your own way
Townhall ^ | August 3, 2005 | John Stossel

Posted on 08/03/2005 6:17:48 AM PDT by rhema

My cable company made me a remarkable offer: They want to add a new channel to my cable subscription -- and you will pay for it. The channel will have liberal news, highbrow entertainment and a variety of educational programming.

Sounds insane, and yet the channel isn't new. It's called PBS.

Public broadcasting is a classic example of welfare for the well-off. We PBS viewers are 44 percent more likely than other Americans to make more than $150,000 a year.

I enjoy PBS, but it hardly seems fair that the government demands you buy it for me. If I want to see opera, I should pay for it myself. Why should you be taxed to pump "La Boheme" into my living room? It barely made sense in 1967, when most Americans only had the Big Three broadcast networks, but now there are hundreds of channels. If there's a demand for opera or BBC drama, the market will provide it.

Not everything on PBS is for elites only, of course. The network is justly famous for programs like "Sesame Street." But popular programs are just that -- popular. That means they have other ways to get money. People already give so much money to PBS that today, it only gets 15 percent of its funds from the federal government. As David Boaz, author of "Libertarianism: A Primer," points out, businesses and nonprofits deal with 15 percent revenue losses all the time. If NPR and PBS lost all their federal money, they wouldn't disappear."

Republicans should stop dithering about reducing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's subsidies and eliminate them altogether. Of course, when anyone suggests cutting the PBS budget, people say, "they're trying to kill 'Sesame Street'!" But "Sesame Street" is big business and would survive in any environment. "Children's programming that has an audience does not need taxpayer subsidies," says Jacob Sullum of Reason. "Noggin, which is more 'commercial-free' than PBS stations, carries 12 hours of kids' shows (including two different versions of 'Sesame Street') every day. Parent-acceptable children's programming can also be seen on Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel and ABC Family."

Some people, who apparently have never watched "20/20" or "60 Minutes," claim we won't have tough journalism on TV unless the public pays for it. Only PBS will do "honest" documentaries, they say, because PBS isn't dependent on corporate support. Twenty-five years ago, Ralph Nader proclaimed that consumer reporting would never appear on commercial TV. It would only thrive on public TV, he said, because commercial stations would defer to advertisers.

Today, it's clear that Nader was totally wrong (as he is so often). PBS carries almost no consumer reporting, probably because the bureaucrats who run it are too nervous about offending anyone . By contrast, there is plenty of consumer reporting on commercial TV. I criticized my employers' most valued customers for years. For heaping abuse on the people who paid us, I was given promotions.

Why? Because viewers want tough news -- even news hostile to big advertisers. Commercial television provides it because even if sponsors boycott, the money other sponsors are willing to spend to reach the viewers the reports attract makes up the loss. The free market serves its customers, and in the TV business, the customers are viewers.

PBS, on the other hand, is broadcasting by bureaucracy. This is not a good thing. We should have separation of news and state. "We wouldn't want the federal government to publish a national newspaper, writes Boaz, "why should we have a government television network and a government radio network? If anything should be kept separate from government and politics, it's the news and public affairs programming that Americans watch. When government brings us the news -- with all the inevitable bias and spin -- the government is putting its thumb on the scales of democracy. It's time for that to stop."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: defundpbs; media; pbs; stossel

1 posted on 08/03/2005 6:17:49 AM PDT by rhema
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To: rhema
"We wouldn't want the federal government to publish a national newspaper

That is an amazing line and a great summary of what's wrong with the idea of PBS.

It's the government line, and for decades it's been the leftist side of the government line.

2 posted on 08/03/2005 6:24:00 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: rhema

I just read that and in my head using John Stossel's voice. For some reason, it all became clear.

I enjoy PBS as well, as they put out some good programming on local history.

But I have to agree, the market will and has provided the specialty programming mentioned (opera, etc.)

However, in the big scheme of things, the amount of money the public broadcasting sector gets from government grant programs (meaning, my and your tax dollars), is a pittance compared to other social programs. I can think of a lot of other things I would outright REFUSE to fund, if I actually had a say in it.

But I still enjoy our station airing commercial free Little Houseon the Prairie. And old Star Trek episodes. And Monty Python.


3 posted on 08/03/2005 6:26:59 AM PDT by Woman on Caroline Street (I'm not a canned good. Please don't label me.)
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To: rhema

PBS is just a big liberal news outlet and I resent my tax dollars being used to fund it.


4 posted on 08/03/2005 6:27:36 AM PDT by Piquaboy (22 year veteran of the Army, Air Force and Navy, Pray for all our military .)
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To: rhema

I agree with John........


5 posted on 08/03/2005 6:32:02 AM PDT by marmar (Even though I may look different then you...my blood runs red, white and blue.....)
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To: Piquaboy

Yep, if it's so d*mn popular, it should be able to go it alone. The real reason they don't want to drop their govt funding IMO is that they would be subjected to the ratings system like all other tv offerings.

That's when corporate sponsorship will cease to exist.


6 posted on 08/03/2005 6:34:03 AM PDT by Let's Roll ( "Congressmen who ... undermine the military ... should be arrested, exiled or hanged" - A. Lincoln)
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To: rhema
Of course, when anyone suggests cutting the PBS budget, people say, "they're trying to kill 'Sesame Street'!" But "Sesame Street" is big business and would survive in any environment. "Children's programming that has an audience does not need taxpayer subsidies," says Jacob Sullum of Reason." Noggin, which is more 'commercial-free' than PBS stations, carries 12 hours of kids' shows (including two different versions of 'Sesame Street') every day.

(Speaking as parent of a 3-year old...)

Not only that, but also very little of Noggin's programming is meant to indoctrinate our kids with mealy-mouthed, feel-good, Liberalism...multi-culti junk is a mainstay of modern children's programming, but most stuff on Noggin is simply fun to watch, compared to the brainwashing that emanates from PBS.

7 posted on 08/03/2005 6:38:29 AM PDT by JRios1968 (Will work for a tagline.)
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To: Woman on Caroline Street

>I just read that and in my head using John Stossel's voice. For some reason, it all became clear.<

I didn't realize it until you said it WOCS, but I read it with John Stossel's voice in my head too! LOL



8 posted on 08/03/2005 6:43:40 AM PDT by jp3 ("Who cares what entertainers think about international affairs." Johnny Carson, Dec. 1967)
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To: rhema
Republicans should stop dithering about reducing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's subsidies and eliminate them altogether

No question about it. I can't believe this hasn't been done yet.

9 posted on 08/03/2005 6:47:05 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: rhema

I like the Brit coms, but despise Bill Moyers.

Not too fond of that narcissistic, pretentious, portentious, pompous Charlie Rose either. God he loves to hear himself talk.

But anything with Norm (Norm!) Abram is good.


10 posted on 08/03/2005 6:51:23 AM PDT by garyhope (The Islamofascists want Western civilization dead. Simple as that.)
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To: rhema; doug from upland

With apologies to lindsey buckingham.

Paying you
Isn’t the right thing to do
How can I ever change things
That I feel

If I could
Maybe I’d give you my opinion
How can i
When you won’t take it from me

You can pay your own way
Pay your own way
You can call it
Another lovely day
You can pay your own way
Pay your own way

Tell me why
Everything's turned around
Packing up
Hacking up is all you wanna do

If I could
Nena, I’d give you my foot
Open up
Everything’s waiting for you

You can pay your own way
Pay your own way
You an call it
Another lovely day
You can pay your own way
Go away today.


11 posted on 08/03/2005 6:54:59 AM PDT by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? GOOOOGLE your own name. Want to have fun? GOOOOGLE your neighbor's......)
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To: garyhope

Any PBS show of value would be picked up by one of the other channels if it truly has a following.


12 posted on 08/03/2005 6:55:17 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Scratch a Liberal. Uncover a Fascist)
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To: Piquaboy
PBS is just a big liberal news outlet and I resent my tax dollars being used to fund it.

Liberal news, views cannot support themselves. They must sponge off taxpayers or others "foundations" to survivie.

Witness: Air America Radio getting loans from a Boys and girls club to survive.

13 posted on 08/03/2005 6:56:37 AM PDT by N. Theknow (If Social Security is so good - why aren't members of Congress in it?)
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To: rhema

(Sc)Air America is a perfect illustration of how the liberal ideology works in a competitive market.

I *accidently* listened to PBS this morning and they had a Muslim being interviewed about some music called "Killing the Infidel."

Yes, you and I paid to broadcast enemy propoganda. It was like having Tokyo Rose on Armed Services Radio.


14 posted on 08/03/2005 6:59:14 AM PDT by IamConservative (The true character of a man is revealed in what he does when no one is looking.)
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To: rhema
PBS could survive with government funding. But to Cafe Latte liberals, the point is to have the government subsidize programs for which there is no constitutional warrant... like television.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
15 posted on 08/03/2005 8:15:15 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: rhema
PBS could survive without government funding. But to Cafe Latte liberals, the point is to have the government subsidize programs for which there is no constitutional warrant... like television.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
16 posted on 08/03/2005 8:15:30 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: rhema

A number of years ago John Stossel admitted that he had had two beach houses which were destroyed in storms and then rebuilt using federally subsidized flood insurance. His word to the taxpayers: "Thanks."


17 posted on 08/03/2005 8:36:12 AM PDT by wideminded
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To: rhema

As long as I can still watch" Clifford", I don't care what happens. :-P


18 posted on 08/03/2005 8:43:34 AM PDT by Bones75
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To: wideminded

He didn't just admit it - he did a show about it - with news coverage of his house going out to sea. It was a report against government backed insurance for 'disasters'.


19 posted on 08/03/2005 8:56:36 AM PDT by flashbunny (Always remember to bring a towel!)
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To: rhema
Apart from the Cable licence fees being paid to PBS from MSO's, PBS is diving into the VOD marketplace in a big way AND they anticipate MILLIONS in profit from that.

PBS is fully capable of supporting itself. In addition to grants from mega corporations looking to get "commercials that aren't really commercials" on PBS airtime, they have a huge e-commerce site at:

http://www.shoppbs.org/home/index.jsp

20 posted on 08/03/2005 9:07:31 AM PDT by Range Rover (Kerry is STILL a Fraud)
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To: rhema

Stossel Ping


21 posted on 08/03/2005 9:28:26 AM PDT by Rakkasan1 (If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your thing.)
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To: rhema



BTTT.

John is right on, as always!


22 posted on 08/03/2005 9:31:41 AM PDT by onyx (North is a direction. South is a way of life.)
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