PBS Chief Executive Paula Kerger fired back at Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s plan to cut funding for the broadcaster, calling it "extremely disappointing" and potentially "devastating" to the American public, The Washington Post reports.
As previously reported, Romney told Fortune magazine in an interview earlier this month, "So first there are programs I would eliminate … Some of these things, like those endowment efforts and PBS, I very much appreciate and like what they do in many cases, but I just think they have to stand on their own rather than receiving money borrowed from other countries, as our government does on their behalf."
Kerger told The Post that Romney’s targeting of PBS is disappointing given the “value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers.”
She pointed to a 2011 national survey by Hart Research and American Viewpoint, bipartisan research firms, that found 69% of voters oppose proposals to eliminate government spending on public broadcasting.
"We understand that these are challenging times,” Kerger said. “However, public broadcasting has already sustained a 13 percent cut in its federal funds over the past two years. More severe cuts would be crippling.”
"Federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget," Kerger added. “Elimination of funding would have almost no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating.”