Officials with PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are calling President Trump’s proposal of funding for the CPB a grave mistake that will hurt children’s programming and public-safety alerts.
The White House’s $4.4 trillion budget plan released Monday prioritizes immigration enforcement, infrastructure development and military programs, while planning “to eliminate Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) over a two year period.”
Uncle Sam currently spends about $450 million per year on public broadcasting, but the proposal only provides about $15 million for each of the next two fiscal years “to conduct an orderly transition away from Federal funding.”
PBS CEO Paula Kerger released a statement Monday in protest of Mr. Trump’s plans for the CPB, which also supports National Public Radio and its affiliated stations.
“PBS, our 350 member stations and our legions of local supporters will continue to remind leaders in Washington of the significant benefits the public receives in return for federal funding, a modest investment of about $1.35 per citizen per year, which include school readiness for kids 2-8, support for teachers and homeschoolers, public safety communications and lifelong learning,” she said.
According to Patricia Harrison, the CEO of CPB, “there is no viable substitute for federal funding that would ensure this valued service continues.”
As a result, she said in a statement Monday, “the elimination of federal funding to CPB would at first devastate, and then ultimately destroy public media’s ability to provide early childhood content, life-saving emergency alerts, and public affairs programs.”
The budget document denies that would result, noting “that CPB grants represent a small share of the total funding for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), which primarily rely on private donations to fund their operations.”
Conservatives also frequently accuse public broadcasting of ideological bias and of being a relic of a pre-cable-TV and pre-internet era when America only had three commercial broadcast channels.
But Ms. Kerger said her stations remain among the country’s most trusted.
“PBS is focused on providing high-quality content and universal public service to the American people, which is why we enjoy strong support in every region of the country, in both rural and urban areas, and across the political spectrum,” she said.
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