Masterpiece 'Political' Theater: Should Washington Continue Spending on PBS & NPR?

Usually around election time or when congress goes through one of those pleasant and courteous Federal spending and budget negotiations, the question always arises should the Federal Government dole out and support with tax payer money, PBS and NPR?
With a possible change in government this November, the prospect that funding for public television and radio could be drastically reduced or even end is a real possibility.

What do you think?

Here’s some facts (the short version):

  • Public Television gets approximately $430-$455 million annually from the Federal Government. That works out to be about 0.01% of the total Federal Budget and is approx 15% of PBS’s operating budget.
  • While NPR is a little different, they generally receive approximately 2% of its operating budget from the Feds. The rest is offset by contributions from private listeners/viewers, corporations, foundations and grants.

While most people agree that PBS and NPR would not completely shutdown and would continue broadcasting in some form or another without this support, a lot of stations would have to close- especially in rural areas where government support can reach up to 50%.

Is that too high a price to pay for supporting quality educational, children, scientific and other programming that the commercial sector doesn’t offer? Does the accessibility to free (not a monthly subscription or fee for cable or satellite service) broadcasts factor in your thinking?

Let us know!

Do you favor keeping current levels of funding for PBS and NPR? Do you favor eliminating all support for public broadcasting?  Please leave your comments below and thank you for you participation!

Comments (11) -

Duff Simbeck

Ken Burns said it all in his essay about public-private partnerships,  Ronald Reagan's hearty endorsement of that approach, plus the fact any businessman or citizen cannot dispute the strong return on investment.  

Joe Vanpippel

Romney don't give a hoot about anyone who has to deal with the day-to-day issues we encoutner in our normal lives.  He'd fire everyone if it put another buck in his pocket.
Sesame Street and PBS provide a tremendous source of education and community services.  Romney is not interested in community.  He's plainly said so in his own words.  To him, 47% are a bunch of losers that he doesn't care about.  Fight him any way you can.
Thank you.

Stephen McLintock

No, I do not believe our tax dollars should be spent on any media outlet.

Gary Chandler

They should be completely on their own


No. Our tax dollars should have never contributed to programs that are media controlled. Particularly when there is a clear leftward bias in the way NPR presents the news and its special programs. Leave the funding to private liberal groups. Romney is absolutely right to target these programs for cancellation. Even if they were completely neutral and only provided excellent educational and "community service" programming, it was always wrong to force hardworking middle class workers to fund it along with everything else, when we have no say in it whatsoever. Besides, we get enough bias from the major networks and there is already too much social engineering going on at the taxpayers expense.


I believe that PBS and NPR could increase thier funding from advertisers and others to cover the loss of government funding. They would not have to change much and would be more likely to behave more closely with the rest of America and earn thier right to be broadcast. They tend to produce programming which leans one was only instead of producing the American television we all deserve - unbiased. Get them out of the government policy manipulation system and on their own. I love most of the programming. I would spend more if they were not so politically motivated!

Dave Hildebrand

Tax dollars should not be used to support ANY program, TV, radio, farming, banking, manufacturing etc...   If they can not stand on their own or secure their own funding privately they should go out of business.  There is no impartial control nor common sense when GOV spends tax dollars.  I believe this even though I have on occasion watched a PBS program.  But I can do without.

Roland Pokorp

What will happen to government support for PBS / NPR has little to do with money.  
Certain politicians do not like the content of Public Stations and how things are preseneted on Public Stations.
So they will take out the Thorn and feel much better.


I think given the mess we are in, the govt has no business funding non-essential activities such as pbs and npr.


The government should not support PBS/NPR.  Why should we continue to pay for a mouthpiece that only talks out of one side of it's mouth?  It could easily stand alone with advertisements.  If not, then it doesn't deserve to stay in business.

Jim Miller

Public Radio is a mouthpiece for the liberal voice and should not be funded with public funds.
They cleverly created some fine children's content on the public dime. If they separate that which is nonpartisan, perhaps, but that won't be done.

Comments are closed

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