House Panel Passes Cuts in PubLic Broadcasting

Jun 13, 2005  •  Post A Comment

A House appropriations subcommittee voted last week to slash federal funding for public broadcasting from $400 million to $300 million next year and to eliminate a $23 million program that provides funding for children’s TV shows such as “Sesame Street” and “Postcards from Buster.”

Public broadcasting’s supporters said the Republican-dominated subcommittee’s action-which also zeroed out programs that public broadcasters had hoped would provide them with another $85 million to help underwrite satellite interconnection expenses and the cost of switching to digital TV-was an effort to force public stations to be more sensitive to Republican concerns. Kenneth Tomlinson, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s chairman and a Republican, has come under intense criticism recently for trying to promote such concerns.

“This constitutes at least malicious wounding if not outright attempted murder of public broadcasting in America,” said John Lawson, president and CEO of the Association of Public Television Stations.

“CPB board Chair Ken Tomlinson and the GOP have a clear strategy to bring public broadcasting to its knees politically and financially,” added Jeff Chester, executive director of the watchdog Center for Digital Democracy.

In a statement Mr. Tomlinson said, “Obviously, we are concerned, and we will be joining with our colleagues in the public broadcasting community to make the case for a higher level of funding as the appropriations measure makes its way through Congress.”