March 8th, 2011, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today in a letter urged members of the Senate to support the year-long House continuing resolution that defunds the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the parent company of National Public Radio (NPR).
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and National Public Radio, could get along just fine without at taxpayer funding,” Wilson wrote in a letter to Senate members, pointing to a newly released undercover video report by James O’Keefe, NPR’s Senior VP for Development, Ron Schiller said, “It’s very clear that we would be better off in the long run without federal funding.”
Schiller explained why NPR would be better off without taxpayer funding: “I think for independence, number one. Number two, is that our job would be a lot easier if people weren’t confused about—because we get federal funding, a lot of Americans, a lot of philanthropists, actually think we get most of our money from the federal government, even though NPR, as you know, gets 1 percent and the station economy as a whole gets 10 percent.”
Wilson said Congress needed to get its budget priorities straight: “With a $1.65 trillion budget deficit projected by the Office of Management and Budget this year, and a $14.1 trillion national debt that cannot be paid back, taxpayers no longer can afford to fund luxuries like public broadcasting.”
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting currently receives $420 million in taxpayer funding.
In an exclusive interview with Americans for Limited Government, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), the original House sponsor of CPB-defunding legislation, has called the Corporation “low-hanging fruit” that can be cut.
Lamborn explained, “Why should taxpayers spend $420 million a year to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is the parent of NPR, when it could survive on its own? It could be out there in the private marketplace, and compete along with everyone else. Why should government be in the broadcasting business at all?”
Senator Jim DeMint, who has introduced similar legislation in the Senate, has agreed, noting that PBS’ brand, Sesame Street, is a commercially viable entity that needs no public funding. “Shows like Sesame Street are thriving, multimillion-dollar enterprises,” he wrote. “According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file, Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 — nearly a million dollars — in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, Sesame Street made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales. Big Bird will be just fine without his federal subsidies.”
“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting only gets about 13 percent of its total budget from federal taxpayers, which the corporation itself is quick to point out. They can finance themselves via donations, or move toward a profit model if they choose, but taxpayers should not be obligated to pay for programming,” Wilson concluded.
ALG last year launched a national petition drive defund public broadcasting in the wake of National Public Radio’s firing of Juan Williams. The petition is at: www.defundpublicbroadcasting.org.
“It is Time for Big Bird to Fly on His Own” by Rebekah Rast, ALG News Contributing Editor, March 8th, 2011.
Letter to the Senate, March 8th, 2011.
“Defund Public Broadcasting Once and For All,” by ALG President Bill Wilson, October 25th, 2010.
ALG Praises Boehner’s Call to Defund Public Broadcasting, October 22nd, 2010
“Where to cut, you ask?” Video by Frank McCaffrey on Doug Lamborn’s legislation, October 19th, 2010.
“The Bare Minimum,” by Rick Manning, ALG Communications Director, October 20th, 2010.
“Time to Stop Funding Luxuries, Like Public Broadcasting,” by Rebekah Rast, ALG News Contributing Editor, June 14th, 2010.
“Is Public Broadcasting Hurting the Arts?” by Robert Romano, ALG News Senior Editor, June 15th, 2010.
Interview Availability: Please contact Rebekah Rast at (703) 383-0880 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.