Skip to comments.Vulture Capitalism (Do we really need Public Broadcasting?)
Posted on 10/10/2012 7:13:04 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The Obama campaign apparently is being run by a humor-deficient would-be Jon Stewart: On Tuesday, it launched an ill-advised attempt at snark in an advertisement featuring Big Bird. How bad was the ad? Even the yellow fellow himself was embarrassed, and Sesame Workshop, the multimillion-dollar enterprise with the $1 millionayear president behind Sesame Street, asked that the ad be taken down. Even President Obamas amen corner in the media was aghast: ABC News Terry Moran pronounced it the work of a campaign in panic mode.
Somebody should remind Barack Obama that he is, for the moment, president of the United States of America, and not auditioning for whichever MSNBC time slot Chris Hayes turned down.
Mitt Romney has promised to end subsidies for public broadcasting, which is an excellent idea for many reasons, beginning with a $16 trillion debt. Those who point out that eliminating mere small-fry outlays like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting wont balance the budget are undeniably correct but it is also undeniably correct that we will not balance the budget without eliminating a lot of small-fry outlays like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
We have to do the big-ticket items and the little ones as well, lest we spare the taxpayer the guillotine only to abandon him to a death by a thousand forgone cuts. While Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are rolling out big ideas on taxes, entitlements, and deficits, Barack Obama is clinging to his toys like a frightened child, which very well may be what he is feeling like after his recent trip to the woodshed.
Controlling the deficit will entail some difficult decisions. Getting Big Bird off of welfare is not one of them. Caroll Spinney, the actor who has played Big Bird since the dawn of time, earns a comfortable 1-percenter income and nests in a gated estate in tony Woodstock, Conn. Rich-old-hippie welfare is an idea whose time has gone.
Public-broadcasting executives earn incomes well into the six figures and sometimes into the seven figures. Sesame Workshop takes in hundreds of millions of dollars from Tickle Me Elmo and other merchandise. Big Bird is beak-deep in birdseed and does not require a half-billion dollars a year from taxpayers. Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, and many other public-broadcasting programs similarly do not require government support. We have excellent reason to believe that people will open their pockets to pay for Downton Abbey: the fact that they already open their pockets to pay for Downton Abbey through on-demand television services. And if Clinton: American Experience or Tony Bennett: Duets II somehow fails to connect with an audience, the sun will rise in the morn nonetheless.
Public broadcasting is the deathless government program par excellence. It may have made some sense a few generations ago, when there were in effect three broadcast television stations, limited radio offerings, and enormous regulatory and economic barriers standing in the way of new market entrants. But that no longer is the case: Anybody with a few thousand dollars and an Internet connection can launch a television series or a radio program today and reach an audience of millions. We have more television stations than we can watch, more radio stations than we can listen to, and instantaneous connections to most of the worlds media.
In fact, we could multiply public broadcasting expenditures a hundredfold and do practically nothing to improve on the already vast richness of our media environment. Firing Line is a beloved memory, but in 2012 such programming would not require a public-broadcasting infrastructure to thrive. If PBS doesnt do it, 10 million others will.
And while PBS and NPR give very little offense beyond their bland, conventional liberalism, the United States is not the sort of country that should have government-run media or even media that is only 6 percent government run. Public broadcasting, like so much associated with the progressive heyday, is fundamentally un-republican.
We welcome this debate. The Democrats will, as usual, cry that this is about the children, but laffair Big Bird shows us precisely who the children really are.
* The budget allocated for Public Broadcasting is a pittance compared to the trillions we spend on other things. One year of Tax Payer support of Public Broadcasting is equivalent to a few hours of spending for the Pentagon.
So, why sweat this small stuff? It's not going to make a dent on the debt or deficit anyway...
* Educational Shows like sesame Street are very different from privately funded shows like Blues Clues.
Sesame Street has NO COMMERCIALS. Commercials induce children to whine to their parents about buying things they don't need. Not good for educational programming.
* Legislators like Paul Ryan are hypocrites. They would vote against earmarking, but when their vote loses in congress, THEY accept earmarks for their constituents anyway ( BTW, Joe Biden is going to bring this issue up in the debate. I wonder if Ryan is prepared for this... ).
The above are the most common counter arguments I've heard.
PBS is the stepchild of LBJ, created entirely to supply government jobs for liberals. Is there anything from the Johnson era that was worth keeping ?
Well, while we’re at it... The Department of Energy was created under Jimmuh Carter. How did we get our energy before that?
Also, in In 1979, President Carter advocated for creating a cabinet-level Department of Education (Republicans opposed it ). How badly educated were American kids prior to its creation?
Is there anything from the Carter era worth keeping?
I commute 50 minutes each way to work. I listen to NPR pretty much every day because they are the only talk station that comes in clear. As I listen to their take on the news and their shows like “morning edition” and “all things considered”, I think the US would lose nothing of significance if they were to go away.
They are as bad as network TV news. They waste a lot of time pulling at emotional strings and dragging out stories. When I’m driving, it’s at least tolerable since I can’t go to the internet.
BIG GOVERNMENT IS CRONY SOCIALISM
“Socialism Is Legal Plunder” - Bastiat
So, do you think NPR will survive without tax payer sustenance?
I believe they might if they “balance” their talk shows to include conservatives.
Maybe something like PBS made sense at one time when the “big three” dominated commercial television and there wasn’t any room for competition. However, with modern media, there certainly is room for someone to start a network dedicated to educational childrens’ programming ala the current PBS.
Sesame Workshop seems like a natural to be that someone. They already have millions of dollars of income from merchandising, over $300 million in total net worth, and a highly popular and recognizable core show that would anchor a new startup network. What new networks have those kind of advantages? I’m not an expert on the modern TV business, but I’d think that no other startup network has EVER started with such huge advantages as Sesame Workshop could.
It’s typical of the Dems, if you are against government funding of something, you are in favor of banning it. That’s bogus, whether it refers to birth control or Big Bird.
Ironically Sesame Street is just about the only thing to come out of public broacasting that actually turns a profit. Big Bird, Miss Piggy, Elmo, etc. would be 1%-ers. But yet when you click on a PBS station, more often than not they pre-empt their programming to man the phone banks and pas the hat around, in spite of all that taxpayer funding.
Another idea to throw this back at them. Romney should say, “The President is always saying that wealthy Americans should give back a little more. He’s not really talking about giving, but rather about being forced to pay more. However, in the case of Big Bird, he’s got a point. I love PBS, and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. I’m writing a check today for $500,000, and I pledge to do so every year. Mr. Obama, it’s time for you and your wealthy liberal backers to do likewise. If you think funding for PBS is so important, then it’s time to give back a little more. Surely for such a worthy cause, you would have no problem opening up your checkbook and encouraging your backers to do so as well, right?”
Get satellite radio.
The only utilities I pay a monthly bill for is electric, water and internet. ;-)
That being said, my new job will have me in my car almost three hours a day. It may be time. It will be worth the money...
It’s only $17/mo.
The response I received was as follows:
“Did you know that the Pentagon gives Fox 600 million every year in Government advertising? True fact...”
I never heard of such a thing, have you?
Gotta look into this one :)
IF TRUE, THEN IT OUGHT TO BE STOPPED. BUT WHERE’s YOUR RELIABLE SOURCE FOR THAT?
I can always say the Pentagon gives CNN a billion dollars a year too.
I would amend that dream statement Romney should make to this :
I love PBS, and Im willing to put my money where my mouth is. Im writing a check today for $500,000, and I pledge to do so every year IF THEY PROMISE TO QUIT BEING SUBSIDIZED BY TAX PAYERS.
(now that would be for emphasis).
The number sounds a bit ridiculous, but what do I know.
If the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines buy advertising on Fox News, it's because they feel that audience is one they would like to recruit.
Purchasing advertising from the number one cable news network is a business transaction, entered into willingly by all parties. Nobody "gives" anybody anything.
No. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS, and NPR must go away. The fastest way is to reduce their federal funding to zero. If if these liberal BS pushers can survive without taxpayer funding, so be it. If not, then they go out of business.
Yep, that’s what I had in mind, but you’re right to emphasize it, or otherwise the libs would expect the private donations AND the taxpayer subsidies.
Its only $17/mo.
It’s a matter of principle for me. Just me...