Monday, March 7, 2011

Cutting funding for public broadcasting in the US

When I have the time, I try to listen to podcasts of the Diane Rehm show, and on this one from January 20 (I am a bit behind) the speakers provide two interesting statistics:

  1. Funding for public broadcasting in the US makes up only 1/25th of one percent of discretionary spending in the US budget, and
  2. Expenditures on public broadcasting in the US pale in comparison to the budgets in other countries. While PBS costs the average US citizen 1.35 dollars per year, a Brit spends 82 dollars a year on the BBC, while a Canadian spends 30 dollars on the CBC (Japan also comes in at around 60 dollars per capita each year). 

While the speaker did not talk about Germany, based on the figures I discuss here Germany would come in even above the level of the BBC at closer to 100 dollars per year per person. The monthly subscription rate is around 20 dollars a month per household, but people without televisions (and, more recently, without computers) do not have to pay, and there are exceptions for people with televisions who are undergoing hardship.

Clearly, there is no money to be saved from cutting funding for public broadcasting. The attack therefore cannot be financially motivated; it is political. Take away public broadcasting, and you are left with corporate-financed media – which is exactly what many Republicans want.

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