Reason Writers Around Town: Matt Welch at "Defund Public Broadcasting"


At CNN's website, Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch argues against "forc[ing] taxpayers to fund other people's cultural preferences." Conclusion:

We no longer would be subjected to this perennial sideshow and obsequious tip-toeing around political sensibilities. And best of all, at a time when governments at every level are out of money, we wouldn't force taxpayers to fund the listening habits of people who hate them.

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. “…wouldn’t force taxpayers to fund the listening habits of people who hate them…”

    Hey that’s not fair! We don’t hate them, we are just superior to them! Everyone I know agrees with me!

  2. Who will speak truth to power in the absence of government funded broadcasting?

    1. Dogs don’t bite the hand that feeds them.

  3. IF there is one thing public funding for PBS does do is make liberals show their real values. PBS is truly a subsidy for upper middle class white people. Poor people and minorities watch at much lower rates. Yet liberals will defend public funding to the death. The poor and minorities must be taxed to fund stuff white people like.

    1. I’m pretty sure there are colored Muppets on PBS.

      1. There are even colored hands up our asses but we now say “African-American hands up our asses.” I don’t remember when his hand went from black to African-American but I’m guessing it was around the time that it was appropriate for me to pet Katy Perry.

        1. Is there a time when it’s inappropriate to pet Katy Perry?

          1. Yeah, when she was white man’s property.

  4. PBS: Television for the Elite and Retirees.


  5. You’re not seeing this from their point of view. To the addled, neoliberal (buy I repeat myself) mind the fact that the government gives them money lends them credibility that can never be obtained by a purely capitalist organization (or ev…en a quasi-charity, like they are). The words “National” in NPR and “Public” in Public Broadcasting System are the totems, the blessings of government purity, on their words and pictures. You cannot possibly underestimate how deeply and fiercly desperate they are to maintain this faux-legitimacy.

    1. I think there’s a fair bit of truth in that Erik C. Surely there’s some way they could still maintain that mystique without being on the government tit? Isn’t there some big national non-profit they can model themselves after? Maybe such an example needs to be forged into a sound-bite (“NPR should be just like X”) and mentioned in article’s like Matt’s so that we can help them see the path…

      Not including those people for whom it’s entirely about cock-blocking republicans of course. I don’t yet see any way to appease those guys except to put enough other things on the chopping block that everyone is equally offended.

      1. NPR should be like Whole Foods.

        Oh crap, nevermind.

  6. The comments there range from stupid to stupider.

  7. I grew up with Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and I have fond memories of my “eldest child” privilege of being allowed to stay up a half-hour later than my younger brother to watch the McNeil and Lehr News Hour. When I’m on a long drive, it’s nice to have the option to listen to NPR over bombastic talk radio or the inanity of Top 40 stations.

    That said, I say it’s time to cut CPB loose from the government feeding trough. If you visit the NPR website, they list the breakdown of funding by source. Total Local, State and Federal funding to the NPR affiliate stations (since NPR does not receive the funding directly) totals to about 5.8% of the average member station’s budget, a funding level that the affiliates could no doubt raise through local support, especially in the middle and upper class enclaves that ostensibly comprise the majority of public broadcasting’s audience.

    That said, I propose a somewhat different solution to our current budgetary dilemma. For every entitlement or public program cut in the non-existent budget negotiations, that percentage ought to be returned directly to the taxpayers. Granted, the return would be very small to the individual taxpayer, but I feel that it would be only fair. The government shouldn’t be handing out entitlements at the public dole; but if private citizens wish to spend their money as they please, should they not have the chance to do so?

    Please, Uncle Sam, get rid of all the entitlements. But return the money to the people who earned it and let them choose how they wish to allocate it.

  8. Reading the comments, apparently you managed to piss off both team blue (obviously), and inexplicably, to also piss off team red (because you admit to listening to NPR? maybe you just look like a liberal to them?).

  9. I have the headlines widget on my home page at work and this article showed up as one of the 3 headlines. Pretty cool, Matt. I assume you’ll be switching to a name-brand monocle polish now.

  10. As a researcher, I found this article helpful

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