Originally published: February 12, 2011
Last updated: February 12, 2011 - 10:40am
The new chairman of the House appropriations committee, Harold Rogers (R-KY), has proposed zeroing out the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds public television and radio. He's initiating a familiar Washington ritual: the nine stages of not eliminating government broadcast funds.
Stage 1. Scream and yell about an unacceptably liberal gesture by NPR or PBS.
Stage 2. Threaten to eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which collects and distributes federal funds to public broadcasters.
Stage 3. Introduce legislation to eliminate CPB.
Stage 4. Discover CPB's annual appropriation looms pretty small (currently $445 million) in a federal government whose annual spending is in the trillions.
Stage 5. Discover that CPB, in a time-tested Washington trick, gives most of its money to local stations, which in turn give money to the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. This (legal) money-laundering scheme makes congressional districts around the country consciously dependent on and loyal to CPB.
Stage 6. Discover that NPR and PBS have developed a deep interest not merely in your conservative political views but in your entire Weltanschauung and put you on the air all the time.
Stage 7. Discover that most public broadcasting officials, no matter what their politics, would rather die than be identified publicly with liberalism and will strangle overtly left-leaning content long before you hear about it.
Stage 8. Discover that despite their terror of anything that might be labeled left-wing propaganda, public broadcasters will, after remarkably little bullying, gladly broadcast more right-wing propaganda than even Grover Norquist can tolerate.
Stage 9. Decide you have bigger fish to fry, and make your peace with public broadcasting. They're not such bad folks after all!
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