Sunday, October 16, 2005

Lee Terry Hates PBS

by Kyle Michaelis
When I last wrote about Republican efforts to destroy PBS (or, at least, slash its funding so that it can't possibly function as an uncommercial, unbiased public entity), I didn't realize that one of the architects of its destruction was our own Congressman Lee Terry of Omaha.

Today's Lincoln Journal-Star ran a good article about what's at stake with the continued Republican effots to take the axe to PBS. The article, however, similarly fails to mention Terry's role in this assault:
Imagine public television programming in Nebraska without "Masterpiece Theatre." Or "Frontline." Or "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." Or even "Sesame Street."

Rod Bates can't — but he said the scenario isn't so far-fetched, especially if federal funding is eliminated from the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications budget.

"The federal funds by and large pretty much pay for all the PBS programming," the NET general manager said. "In a simple way, all PBS programming would go away. If all PBS programming goes away, we would have a serious problem because it's the bulk of our schedule."

Bates is one of several public broadcasting administrators closely monitoring events in Washington, D.C., these days.

Three weeks ago, a group of more than 100 conservative House Republicans proposed $500 billion in spending cuts to offset the cost of rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Among their suggestions was eliminating $400 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the agency that funnels money to PBS, NPR and other public broadcasters....

The proposed cut is the latest instance of public broadcasting finding itself in a political turf war....

A February 2004 RoperASW Poll found that PBS ranked first in public trust, ahead of broadcast networks, newspapers and Congress....

In June, a House subcommittee voted to eliminate within two years all federal money for the CPB, starting with a 25 percent cut in the agency’s $400 million budget for next year.

The House reversed the committee’s decision to eliminate all funding and restored the $100 million. Nebraska’s Republican representatives Jeff Fortenberry, Lee Terry and Tom Osborne voted against restoring the funds.

But the House did not restore an additional $102.4 million that helps underwrite the production of PBS’ Ready to Learn children’s programs such as the Emmy Award-winning “Reading Rainbow,” co-produced by NET Television....

Federal funds make up 9 percent or nearly $3 million of NET’s budget, which is $23,130,000 for the 2005 fiscal year. NET, which operates NET Television and Radio, also receives money from the state, the university, corporate and private donations, grants, contracts and multimedia sales.

Bates said losing any amount of government funds would be difficult.

“We would probably have to eliminate our local programming if we wanted PBS programming,” he said. “That's the kind of choice we would have to make. We couldn't afford PBS programming unless we drastically cut something else."

The 100 conservative House Republicans pushing for these cuts are better known as the Republican Study Committee, and chief among their numbers for our purpose is the aforementioned Lee Terry - his name's right there on the website.

Of course, the past votes of Congressmen Fortenberry and Osborne demonstrate that they too will go along with the scheming of these partisan zealots at the expense of Nebraskans who rely on Public Broadcasting and treasure its services.

But, only Terry (so far - Fortenberry's application might well be in the mail) has come out as an avowed enemy of PBS and the wonderful educational programming it provides.

Take notice. Take action.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Sesame Street but he'll raise money at a Madonna concert. Unbelieveable...

Blogger GA Hill said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Post a Comment

<< Home