The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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Public broadcasting must be protected

Public broadcasting is a pillar of the American democracy, and the right of the public to receive educational, informative and even political information is protected by the Constitution. Congressional allocation of federal funding reserved for public broadcasting must be preserved. The Bush administration’s budget for 2008 proposes a number of cuts to Community Service Grants that provide federal funding vital to public broadcasting. The 2008 proposal released in early February cuts federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by $110 million and provides no advance appropriation for 2010.

The 2008 budget cuts funding for digital conversion and system inner connection previously provided by the 2007 budget while allocating $30 and $35 million respectively for these specific purposes. The White House supports eliminating the Ready to Teach Program and the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, which upgrades the Public Radio Satellite System. In addition to these cuts, lack of forward federal funding for public broadcasting in the proposed 2008 budget will cripple multi-year program projects, according to PBS’s Vice President for communications, Lea Sloan.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has provided quality programming to the American people since its advent in 1967, and it is imperative this be preserved for the further education of future generations. NPR and PBS, formed as part of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, serve the public by providing political, social and educational programming in a longer more in-depth format, not just the three-second sound bytes our culture encourages.

Basic television programming does not serve the original purpose for which it was created: to educate and inform the public. The American public should not have to invest in cable television in order to receive quality educational programming. Average Americans, those who would benefit most from quality television, are also those who will suffer most if public broadcasting is not protected.

The 2008 proposed budget is under attack from progressive political group Moveon.org, which stresses the need for federal funding of public broadcasting as a way to prevent commercialization and privatization of public television and radio. Congressman Ed Markey has voiced his concern about deep non-commercial TV cuts authored by Republicans. According to Markey, “The public broadcasting system represents an oasis of quality child-oriented programming; we owe America’s children and their parents this free, over-the-air resource.”

Public broadcasting must be protected as a fundamental right of the public to political information and further education. Modern television, radio and cable companies need to be aware of the purpose of their creation, to further education and promote freedom as a means of ensuring democracy. CBS legend Edward Murrow spoke about the impact of television on American society saying, “the instrument [television] can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can only do so to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends.” It is time to protect educational programming and speak out against the voyeuristic infotainment that is currently passed off as news to American audiences.

About the writer:

Sarah Gibbons is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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