Gunning For Big Bird, Ctd

Oct 5 2012 @ 3:17pm

Hrag Vartanian rips into Romney for saying he'd cut the subsidy to PBS because "I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it":

The fact is that Romney either doesn’t understand how PBS funding works or he is deliberating misrepresenting his positions…. PBS CEO and President Paula Kerger blasted Romney’s entire premise of government funding for PBS, telling CNN that "actually, Big Bird doesn’t get any money from the government." "In fact, the money that comes from the government into the Corporation for Public Broadcasting actually doesn’t even come to PBS, it goes to our member stations. So that is actually what is at risk if, in fact, we are defunded because the money is going to stations across the country," Kerger said. And for some stations in rural areas, she added, cutting government money will mean "those stations will go off the air," [she said].

And, according to Lucas Kavner, the cuts would hit red states harder: 

Major arts providers in cities like New York or Los Angeles enjoy far higher levels of private donations than do institutions in most rural areas, where NEA grants can spell the difference between a program's life and death. The NEA supports organizations in low-income regions, and helps states deal out money to those who need it most.

Alyssa has more along those lines:

As James Poniewozik pointed out in a piece last year, cutting funding for public Birdbroadcasting doesn’t mean that all stations everywhere will go away. Instead, stations with narrower supporter bases, often those that serve poorer or rural communities, will disappear as public networks in urban areas with a large pool of donors to draw from will survive. The people who are going after public television in Alabama may only see their ability to air David Barton’s arguments that America’s roots are actually Christianist at stake. It’s too bad they can’t widen their focus and see that in the process, they may jeopardize children’s access to educational programing, and a low-priced way for adults to see sophisticated, family-friendly shows that conservatives and fans of good television alike ought to be on board for.

Earlier commentary here. And this infographic on PBS's finances and viewership is making the rounds.