Vail Daily letter: Not the job of government |

Vail Daily letter: Not the job of government

In his Feb. 22 letter, Gus Nicholson concedes that there is a liberal tilt in public broadcasting; but he points to such programs as “Downton Abbey” and Ken Burns’ “Civil War” series, plus features about bee keepers and the like as redeeming factors. Don’t conservatives enjoy those shows too?

Could be, but it’s still wrong to help pay for them with funds obtained by threat of fine or imprisonment.

More importantly, it is not the job of government to entertain the citizenry. Rome did that with Circus Maximus and Coliseum, which only created new problems in governance.

The government did not bankroll these PBS efforts entirely; Ken Burns says that the National Endowment for the Humanities covered 30-35 percent of “The Civil War’s” production cost. That was when Dick Cheney’s wife, Lynn, headed up NEH. This may help to explain why that program was ideologically evenhanded.

A large share of the cost was covered by various private organizations, which are listed in the opening credits. Who says “The Civil War” series couldn’t have been done with 100 percent voluntary funding?

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In the meantime, the news and related shows can be as liberal in orientation as they like, so long as there are no unwilling contributors. That’s part of free speech.

Terry Quinn


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