Bush seeks to slash public broadcast funds

President George W. Bush took a swipe at Big Bird and his ilk Monday as he proposed slashing funds to public broadcasting by more than $150 million.

In the president's 2007 budget request, funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will be cut by $53.5 million in 2007 and $50 million more in 2008. Those cuts don't reflect others made in funding at the Education and Commerce departments and the elimination of specific programs for digital TV conversion and satellite delivery system. Public broadcasting officials estimate that the entire budget cuts run $157 million over the two-year period.

"Oscar the Grouch has been friendlier to the Sesame Street characters than President Bush, who has chosen to make huge cuts to children's television programming," said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass. "In a world of fast-and-furious television with ratings-driven content, the public broadcasting system represents the last stronghold of quality child-oriented programming--we owe this to America's children."

The cuts in public broadcasting are part of an attempt by the White House to reduce the country's red ink as the administration seeks more money for the military and seeks to make Bush's first-term tax cuts permanent.

Attempts by conservative Republicans to cut CPB funds are nothing new. Many conservatives view the public broadcasting as a bastion of liberalism. While there have been attempts to make cuts, the service has wide support in Congress from Republicans and Democrats who like its dedication to public affairs and educational programming.

Last year, an overwhelming majority in Congress voted to restore cuts proposed by the administration. This year, those cuts go even deeper, and it could be more difficult to win the fight in Congress, said John Lawson, president and CEO of the Association of Public Television Stations.

"We've dealt with cuts from this White House every year, but these are the deepest he's ever presented," Lawson said. "We see a clear and present danger here."

It took an advertising campaign from public TV stations to mobilize the service's supporters, something that might not be as effective a second time, he said.

"This is a tough environment in Washington right now, and we're competing with other priorities," Lawson said. "If you don't make your case, you lose," he said. "We won last year, but only after we asked the stations to go on the air and tell their communities what was happening. It's an effort we won't foreclose, but if you do that every year, it loses its effectiveness. We're going to try to win this one on the ground."

In his $2.77 billion budget, Bush asks Congress to sharply cut or eliminate 141 government programs. Almost one-third of the targeted programs are in education, including ones that provide money to support the arts, vocational education, parent resource centers and drug-free schools.

"My administration has focused the nation's resources on our highest priority--protecting our citizens and our homeland," Bush said in his budget message.

Bush's spending proposals are for the 2007 budget year that begins Oct. 1. The $2.77 trillion in spending would be up 2.3 percent from projected spending of $2.71 trillion this year.

The administration in its budget documents said the deficit for this year will soar to an all-time high of $423 billion, reflecting increased outlays for the Iraq war and hurricane relief.

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He wouldnt understand...as a kid, obviously it didnt work for him.
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Even though not everyone gets the Discovery Channel and The History Channel (cable isn't free), adults don't really need PBS.
On the other hand, I think their children's programming is important. The bulk of today's kids programming is violent anime or rude Nickoledon cartoons, plus they're bombarded with ads. Shows like Sesame Street provide a safe haven for young children.
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broadcast tv is swayed by advertisers, that is why it hypothetically is less objective and trustworthy than pbs--it has to generate money, whereas pbs' value isn't measured in whether it makes or loses money, it is purely for educational purposes.
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Man, I just love how this moron wants to cut funding for public television, just so he can use that money so he can continue his little game of war in Iraq. I can't believe that people actually still like this stupid President! I'm glad that I didn't vote for him.
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Hey Harlann: I respect what you're saying but you know on a comparative basis certain exhibits at the Smithsonian are probably outclassed by regional museum exhibits. Thankfully, we haven't pulled the plug on it. Who best to say PBS isn't a similar institution just because it is based on television, us or people 100 years from now with more perspective?
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Big Bird Vs. Bombs. Damn you people are dense...

Look, PBS has been on the public dole for decades. During which we got some good programming. Yet, this was during a time when there was only three TV Networks to deal with. But the time for PBS has now come and is quickly going. With TV and Cable networks popping up yearly, “educational” shows put out by PBS are being upstaged and bettered by networks like Discovery and The History Channel, entertainment programming out classed by A&E, Bravo, Sundance; and Science by Discovery and the Science Channel; and political talk/analysis handled by the News Channels..

No, it’s time that the government gets out of the TV/Radio business. No more funding of PBS should be permitted. If PBS is wanted to continue by viewers, then they either need to pony up more money themselves, or PBS needs to begin to accept advertising like the rest of the free enterprise networks.

And as for outside revenue, many have stated there isn’t any for them. Not true. A large host of DVDs and Videos can be purchased form many stores and online venues of PBS programming. There is outside revenue. PBS also gets large blocks of programming funded by evil corporations like EXXON and Phillip Morris. PBS can most definitely stand-alone. If not, then it’s time for them to fold.

So stick your Bush bashing in your "Back pocket" and get some buisness sense will ya!
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Instead of cutting funding, I think maybe Pres. Bush ought to be adding money to market PBS children's program to parents and kids in impoverished urban and rural areas. I think that between 35 and 15 years ago, we were probably on the right track as a nation in part because poor kids and latchkey children were watching Sesame Street, Electric Company and then later Levar Burton's Reading Rainbow. Fact is, these programs were often the baby sitter. Now more than ever, with ever expanding choice, I feel as though it is important to have both the shows and some marketing muscle behind the programming. I wonder whether we ought to be encouraging parents to set their televisions up to only show PBS programs when they are out and also maybe marketing to kids the idea that those are the must-see shows to watch. But now the barn door is open. In other words, I'm thinking -- Houston, we've got a problem. `Best we can do, as far as I see it, is besiege the gentleman from Texas who holds this country's No. 1 job with messages from all Americans, as diverse as those living in Idaho and those serving in Iraq. I think we should all bring it from the heart, and not stop until our 43rd person in this office gets the point that this is one thing he does not want attributed to him when his role in history is written. One of the great products of this country is its entertainment. It is a testament to the strength of this nation that we see fit to produce great commercially unchallenged programming for the benefit of all U.S. citizens. So, I am fixing to do what I can to urge Pres. Bush to reverse himself on this one and fly straight. I respect other opinions on this one but simply want to make my point heard too. Once we get through this, maybe we'll all work on the idea of a marketing program behind the shows with the next administration. That's about all I've got to say.
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Well, look at what we got here. We got a power hungry Neo-Evganical who wants to show the world he has a pair of brass balls and wants to cut funding to everything and just fund the war.
That makes a lot of sense, but majority of this country, primairly the red states, want B-TV (Bible TV) and God is there G-DJ (God DJ) and Pat Robertsen and George Bush as DJs as well...
You can hear it...I WANT MY BTV!
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Maniac Bush is cutting health care for the elderly and disabled, so he can pave the desert in Iraq. Worrying over the fate of PBS is about the last thing on my list of things to protest.
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pbs shouldn't get outside support, that is the whole point. it is not beholding to advertisers. bush should stop spending our money on wars.
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Good! It's about time that the free ride for PBS is OVER...they need to join the rest of the TV industry and get some outside funding to stay alive. Watch their programming change to suit people who will actually watch the damn network.
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I can't believe I was ever a fan of Bush. What a stupid prick - I may not watch PBS but it's important and I can't believe he'd take it away just so he can afford more crap to blow up innocent people with.
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