Frank Louis
March 9, 2011
We should have stopped funding PBS and NPR a long time ago
By Frank Louis

As the US Economy goes further and further into the tank, budget cuts are being considered in every sector of state, local and national budgets. Among these on the list for possible elimination and/or cutbacks are PBS and NPR, the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio. Had this come up 30-years ago I would have been upset and adamantly said "no" to these cuts. Now, I have a different take on this issue. A small dollar amount, but: get them off the books now!

Americans have had billions of dollars stolen from them through the fraudulent housing crisis set upon us by "exotic financing mechanisms" according to the criminal mind of Ben Bernanke but we are distracted from these crimes by focusing our attention on issues like funding NPR and PBS.

American cities and States are going bankrupt as a result of the same sort of "criminal" budgeting scenarios that created drastically, unsustainable and inflated deficits in housing as well as our local and national economies and we are bickering over NPR, PBS and Barney? Attention Congress, attention US Senate: Get a life; save this nation from ourselves. But back to public broadcasting.

Years ago, these networks were venues for subjects that were considered "less commercial." I believe that these networks have lost sight of this mission. Perhaps even totally forgotten about this notion altogether. Decades ago, I was a fan of NPR. I listened to it daily as I worked in my studio and in my office. NPR provided the perfect commercial free backdrop of classical music, traditional American music like blues, bluegrass, and acoustic style "folk" music for me to concentrate on my daily mission.

NPR provided a much welcome respite from the commercial stations that offered none of these musical traditions, let alone with no hype to filter through. There was a time that, yes, I would choose to listen to a fundraising drive rather than tune to a commercial station.

Somewhere along the line, NPR lost touch with this mission. Not that long ago, WGBH Radio in Boston promoted itself as "The Home of Folk, Classical, and Blues Music." You not only no longer hear that slogan; you can rarely find music of any form on that station. They have adapted an agenda and a "point of view" that they promote that I do not often agree with but have to pay for? This somehow does not seem right.

No, Senator Reid, this is not about "Barney" ... well, perhaps it is. When "Barney" promotes values that are against those that many Americans hold, it is time to ask just why we must pay for it. Public Television as well, years ago, offered a commercial free alternative to commercial programming. I do not believe it in anyway took away from the commercial networks in viewership either. The programming was so different that what was offered on the networks, that one could only deduce that people were not watching PBS "instead" of the networks but "rather than" tuning these stations in. If I were not watching a concert, a British Comedy or Dr. Who on PBS, I most likely had the TV off. PBS was not what is has become today. That is for sure.

In the recent decade or so, the Internet has become a source for accessing the music that American's once had to turn to NPR and PBS to access. While I have yet to find a website that plays old episodes of Dr. Who or Monty Python, I believe I can still live.

Yes, it is time to defund these networks and we need to do it now. There are several other sources of revenue that these networks receive funds from. As these sponsors seem to have agenda driven reasons for this funding, let them pay the full tab.

© Frank Louis


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Frank Louis

Frank Louis is a print and on-air commentator who offers opinions and solutions on and for the economy, social issues, and the future of this nation. In the Old Testament, Nehemiah 4: 14 instructs us to fight for our houses; something we need to be doing now. Our future generations depend on it!... (more)


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