Free Speech 3/15/11

Encourage local politicians not to defund public broadcasting

I am firmly in continued support of public broadcasting, for both forms on TV and radio.

I think it has long been a goal of some on the right, to somehow do away with public broadcasting. I am sure their dislike of public broadcasting comes in part from their overall dislike of government ― at least government that operates in a “liberal fashion” and that they do think that the news and other programming has a “liberal bias.”

Like in other issues going on out there now like gutting most of the collective bargaining rights of public employees, the right is taking advantage of the “budget crisis” to try to rationalize their going after all of the things they don’t like.

I disagree with the idea that since we have so many options today when it comes to programming on radio and television, we no longer need public broadcasting.

Even though there is programming, especially on television networks that at first blush, seem to be like the programming offered by PBS, I think a closer look at comparing the programming on say the History Channel and PBS is actually very different.

I doubt that a History or Discovery Channel would provide the time for a long spread-out series like those produced by Ken Burns or would provide airtime for programs like “Independent Lens.”

When it comes to the programming of music on television, I doubt that GAC or CMT would air a program like “Austin City Limits.” Back when Gaylord still owned and called that channel “TNN,” you used to see some programs that highlighted higher-quality country music and even some artists that are more adequately considered to be under the genre of “Americana.”

Other than PBS, with “Austin City Limits” ― there is no representation of this genre of music, which is growing larger.

You once would see networks like A&E feature shows that highlighted jazz and classical music in its early days ― but no longer. Bravo once had a somewhat “highbrow” type of programming, but not today ― Bravo now has degenerated to only airing the lowest of the low of what I call “Least Common Denominator” sorts of programing with shows like their various versions of the “Real Housewives of ________” shows.

I think that the programming on PBS very much has its place in our cultural landscape and it would leave a gaping hole in that landscape should the proposed defunding of the CPB is successful and that somehow leads to the end of PBS.

I do think that even if the funding did dry up ― PBS and NPR would both somehow continue and those of us in places like southwest Ohio would still have our stations, but it would likely lead to those less well-funded stations in more rural places would not be able to survive and that would be a sad thing for those who live in such areas who won’t or cannot afford to pay for cable or satellite TV and also cannot afford to get Sirius/XM satellite radio ― will be left living in cultural wasteland.

I have called both Sherrod Brown and Mike Turner’s offices, urging them to vote against any attempts to defund public broadcasting. I didn’t bother with Rob Portman. I don’t know his position on this, but I suspect he is all for gutting public broadcasting and it doesn’t matter to him that any of his constituents are not in favor of such a move. I may just go ahead and either e-mail or call his office to let him know my feelings anyway, for whatever good it may do.
I would urge anyone who reads this to consider doing the same if you haven’t done so thus far.

― Michael Garrity
[RE: DCP’s “Debate Forum,” 3/8/11]

Conservative? No thanks.

Public radio is the only radio to which I listen. It’s so unbiased that its news people get fired for expressing their opinions. It’s disheartening and even scary to realize how many boneheads there are in charge of our country, at all levels. Who can afford to be a conservative?

– Marsha T.
[RE: “Debate Forum: Left” by Ben Tompkins 3/8/11]

Modern break-up woes

Jason is in touch with the human condition in relationship to current times. I need to read more. I can relate. I cried. Thank you.

–Paula Vanecek
[RE: “I heard it through the newsfeed” by Jason Webber, 3/8/11]

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