There is a battle under way over the very existence of public broadcasting.
It wasn't always this way. Over a decade ago, I founded the Congressional Public Broadcasting Caucus to bring Members together, Democrats and Republicans, in support of public media and the important services they provide to local communities all across America.
However, partisan critics are now attacking public broadcasting claiming that it would be able to serve its mission without federal support. In fact, undermining federal support would be a disaster for public broadcasting, closing hundreds of stations across the country and putting this valuable community resource at risk in many others.
A recent study demanded by public broadcasting's zealous critics in Congress reveals that there is no alternative to public funding. Other funding options explored in the report, such as advertising, would actually result in less money for public broadcasting because people would refuse to voluntarily contribute to watch commercial advertising. While programs such as Sesame Street and Nova could technically survive without federal support, if there are no stations to show these programs because they have all been forced to close, they won't last. Sesame Street might as well not exist. Children deserve the unique, educational opportunities provided by public broadcasting without being sold cereal or action figures.
Facts about public broadcasting:
More than six in ten voters who believe deficit reduction is an important goal also support funding for public broadcasting.
Public broadcasting was ranked second by the American public, only behind funding for our national defense, as providing excellent value for their tax dollars.
Public broadcasting is America's most trusted institution. In fact, American voters have twice the level of trust in public broadcasting as they do in our courts of law.
It is shameful to single out this valuable institution -- the federal investment of which is only $1.35 per American, per year, .012% of the total federal budget -- for attack when billions of dollars are wasted on subsidies for large oil companies, payouts for agribusiness, and the unchecked growth of a bloated defense budget and intelligence network. As Chair and Founder of the Public Broadcasting Caucus, I will continue to fight for the preservation of public broadcasting on behalf of its millions of viewers across the countries that rely on it for quality news, education, and entertainment.