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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Static over PBS

The debate about PBS funding has run aground on issues related to content: Is PBS too liberal? too conservative? pretty well balanced? This is understandable, given that the strong left bias of NOW with Bill Moyers" has drawn the ire of conservatives. But content isn't what's really important here. If PBS's programming could be divided 50-50 between left and right, that would chiefly serve to clarify the core issue: Why should government subsidize a TV network at all? Arguably, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting made sense in 1967, when it was created as the fourth choice after ABC, CBS, and NBC? But in a 500-channel TV universe, public television begins to seem like a museum corridor to a bygone age. George Will asks the right questions: "Why should government subsidize the production and distribution of entertainment and, even worse, journalism? Even if there were — has there ever been? — a shortage of either in America, is it government's duty to address all cultural shortages?" Let the friends of Bill Moyers and Barney the Dinosaur foot the bill. If they have enough fans, both shows will survive. If not, they won't. Underwriting? Try George Soros. In any case, PBS's recent question will get answered: "If PBS doesn't do it, who will?" Link: "We have no more need for PBS" (George Will)