Since Tea Party Republicans assumed control of Congress and made gains in the United States Senate, public broadcasting has been under a relentless, unprecedented assault. Even with attacks in the past, this is the first time that there has been a political party united in their assault and a nominee of a major political party, Mitt Romney, vowing to defund this critical institution. The Republican led effort culminated in the Appropriations budget, slashing public broadcasting over the next two years, and then ending federal support altogether.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer founded the Public Broadcasting Caucus in 1999 in an effort to ensure that America has a strong and financially sound non-commercial, universal, educational broadcasting service and to advocate on behalf of its’ continued funding. Since its inception, the bipartisan caucus has grown to over 100 members who fight for these ideals. A leader in the fight to save public broadcasting, Blumenauer has been honored with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Ralph Lowell Award and the Association of Public Television Stations’ Champion of Public Broadcasting Award.
The federal government provides only about 15 cents of every public broadcasting dollar. The vast majority of budgets across the nation are provided by voluntary contributions from viewers and listeners, resulting in an unprecedented public/private partnership. With an array of things to watch and listen to, public broadcasting costs the average American less than half a penny a day.
So while larger cities may be able to survive without federal funding support, stations in many of the smaller communities across the nation would not be able to survive. For instance, public broadcasting in Burns, Oregon, costs about eleven times as much to provide coverage as Beaverton does in suburban Portland.
This relentless assault will not stop unless we force them. If a small fraction of the 170 million people who trust and rely on public broadcasting get involved politically, we can secure, protect, and maybe even enhance the future of public broadcasting.
So let's put a little muscle behind public broadcasting and send a message to the people who would destroy this institution that their actions are wrong. Defunding this treasured resource is not a free vote. We need to show that their unrelenting assault has consequences and we are not going to let it happen.
Join today in casting your vote to protect public broadcasting. We may not have billions of dollars like rightwing SuperPACs, but if enough of us contribute $5, $50, $500 or $5000 that is legally permitted, we can not only defeat many of these Republican’s destructive agendas, we can also send a message to stop attacking public broadcasting and appealing to your radical base at the expense of NPR and PBS. We can end this assault once and for all.