Vail Daily letter: Public broadcasting is valuable
February 26, 2017
Terry Quinn (Letter to the Editor, Feb. 13) questioned why taxpayers should pay for media outlets like Public Broadcasting (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR). There are several reasons we should still provide some public funding.
About 50 percent (varies per year, area of country) of all funding is from individuals, corporations, trusts, etc. The government picks up the rest (to PBS and local stations), less than a dollar per year per person. An accurate picture of CPR, PBS, and NPR funding can be found on the internet.
First, it is quality television that reaches an average of 100 million people through TV and 36 million people online monthly. It offers listeners to experience the world of science, history, nature, and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and see world-class dramas and performances. PBS' involvement in education offers award-winning children's programming with its proven initiatives focused on math, literacy, and preparing children for kindergarten.
It also embraces content that encourages Americans of all ages to explore the world around them. It's America's largest classroom, biggest stage, and most trusted window to the world.
There are excellent investigative programs which you will never get from other stations. These investigative programs, for example "Frontline," may reveal certain things that the public should be aware of — things that organizations and corporations don't want the public to know. Cable and regular TV programming probably won't invest in investigative reporting as they may lose corporate advertising funds that they rely on. PBS doesn't need to worry about corporate advertising dollars.
Second, PBS news programs' guests are from both sides of the aisle, at times in a round table and other times individually and maybe on different nights. It is not fake news. The news is in detail with real journalists, some who risk their lives getting the real news.
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Third, if you have antenna at home, you can access international news to get a different perspective or to know what other countries are saying about the US, and what other countries are doing. I know that all the points I've mentioned above can be scary to the "right-wing," as Mr. Quinn has asked why taxpayers who are not liberals should help pay. Public Broadcasting is not liberal, it is accurate broadcasting.
Fourth, you can get some of this information on the internet. But if the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is eliminated, there may not be adequate funding for many of these programs and also the broadcasting of foreign news may go away. Not everyone has access to the internet at home.
Fifth, not everyone has cable or can afford it or want it. TV programs received by an antenna vs. cable cost nothing, once an antenna is purchased, which is a low, one-time cost. We donate to PBS and NPR so that others may have quality programming who can't afford to contribute. Already we have a society that has limited good information to make good decisions. We don't need to continue to dumb down our society with "fake news" or reality TV. Although mainstream media has great news with knowledgeable, honest journalists, it is offered at limited times via the regular TV, early morning and evening. Public Broadcasting fills in the blanks.
Remember that Trump said that mainstream media is an enemy of the people. This was and is the argument of tyrants and dictators. Perhaps one political party wants only their views provided to the people. What are they afraid of? We should continue to ask, what is best for all citizens of the U.S?
Denver and Vail
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