End it, Don't Mend it


Jack Shafer tells liberals why they should learn to love de-funding public broadcasting. Sample:

Modern conservatives like Nixon and Bush don't like to cut big government, they like to "conserve" it and refashion it to their end: A political spoil like public broadcasting is too valuable a weapon to surrender to ideology.

The best remedy for this week's public broadcasting crisis isn't the dismantling of the "objectivity and balance" firewall but the abolishment of the [Corporation for Public Broadcasting] itself. Bureaucracies inevitably conform to the wishes of the ruling party, and as much as CPB would like to rise above politics, every federal appropriation comes laden with political baggage. No government–Republican, Democrat, or Socialist–will ever surrender control over media money it disburses.

If media activists were serious about public broadcaster independence, they'd take this week's news as a cue to wean public television and radio from the federal government teat.

Whole thing here.

For some reason takes on public broadcasting, see Jesse Walker's 1997 review of Ralph Engelman's Public Radio and Television in America: A Political History; his 2001 interview with Jerold Starr, author of Air Wars: The Fight to Reclaim Public Broadcasting; and his 1997 Cato paper arguing why community radio doesn't need the CPB. Also, there's Nick Gillespie's 1995 plea for culture yes, government no; and if you really want to feel the pain, read Rick Henderson's 1995 "sobriety test" for How to tell if the GOP is serious about shrinking government.