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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Friday, October 22, 2010

Privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) was established in 1967 with the signing of the Public Broadcasting Act. In 1969, formed the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and one year later, the National Public Radio (NPR). The authorizing act required that the CPB maintain "strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature." Despite the controversy surrounding the firing of Juan Williams (See “Juan Williams and the Meaning of Bigotry” for details and a defense of Williams), I believe that the CPB has conscientiously and rather successfully complied with the mandated.

The CPB is governed by a nine person board that is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Each member of the board serves a six year term. In 2009, four members were Republicans, four Democrats, and one independent.

In 2009, the CPB was funded by the federal government to the tune of $400. Historically, this funding has ranged between 15% and 20% of total operating revenue. State and local taxes have funded an additional 25% to 29%. Private sources have competed the funding. CBS and NPR are also funded by a combination of public and private sources.

Given enormous deficits and mounting debt at all levels of government, taxpayers should demand more care in government budgeting. I suggest that the CPB be completely privatized. The president's and senate’s time should not be spent selecting board members or considering is budgetary needs. There is no longer a need for taxpayers to subsidize television and radio programming in today’s broadcasting market if there ever was one.
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1 comment:

  1. Ilse Rojano6/11/10 2:10 PM

    I believe whether to provide funding for public broadcasting or not is a difficult decision. Public broadcasting benefits the public because it imforms them of the news. On the contary, if funding public broadcasting is causing taxpayers to be in debt then it might not be such a good idea.