It’s time for tough love in Virginia. We’ve got a group of squatters living in the basement, enjoying a subsidized lifestyle paid for by hard–working adults. And at a time when even former DC Mayor Marion Barry has come to the conclusion there should be an absolute time limit on the collection of welfare benefits, there is no excuse to continue supporting the Culture Queens.
Yes, we’re talking about you — Virginia ‘public’ broadcasters.
Gov. Bob McDonnell is proposing if not tough love, at least disapproving love. McDonnell wants to eliminate the Commonwealth’s $4 million a year subsidy to ‘public’ broadcasting in two stages. He cuts the taxpayer contribution $2 million in 2012 and the final $2 million in 2013.
Spendacrats are predictably outraged. Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Subsidy) is quoted as saying, “Public television and radio provide a needed and important service for the people of the Commonwealth. To subject them to cuts of that nature and ultimately try to phase out funding is shortsighted.”
Someone needs to introduce McEachin to MSNBC.
‘Public’ broadcasting is the 50–pound sparrow that has been sitting in the nest since the 50’s and refuses to vacate the premises. What “public service” does ‘public’ broadcasting provide that is not already duplicated by commercial radio and TV?
It’s conceivable that forcing ‘public’ broadcasting to spread its wings would reduce the number of what my wife, Janet, refers to as “FOB stories.” That’s short for Flies–on–Babies and even the most casual listener to NPR’s “Morning Editorial” or “Awful Things Considered” has heard one.
A ‘reporter,’ managing to sound simultaneously lugubrious and superior, tells you about infants in some hellhole who are stuck in unspeakable conditions and IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT! Yankee listeners either caused it, failed to prevent it or didn’t send enough cash when they heard about it.
The reports originate from some third–world, wannabe socialist paradise that would be heaven on earth, if only Uncle Sam would send more subsidy money, which constitutes a theme throughout ‘public’ broadcasting.
The governor, bless his heart, tried to cut this wasteful spending last year, but failed since the first response of progressives faced with the unthinkable prospect of losing taxpayer dollars is always to take hostages, in this instance using schoolchildren as human shields.
Legislators restored the gravy train after ‘public’ broadcasters claimed state aid went to teach children in public schools, which I find confusing since I thought that’s what teachers did.
But the fact of the matter is ‘public’ broadcasters dependence on government crack, I mean cash, is simply an addiction.
There is no reason NPR, PBS and their VA affiliates can’t survive in the marketplace. The only obstacle is mental since it would force them to act like capitalists and undercut their current motto: We are superior, therefore we deserve a subsidy.
The morning and evening NPR ‘news’ programs average 13.5 million listeners each week, which is only a bit less than Rush Limbaugh attracts and he’s doing fine in the commercial marketplace. TV ratings are equally strong, but you don’t hear much about that since it undercuts the justification for subsidy.
What’s more their audience is loyal. Earlier this year NPR bigwigs were worried about a falloff in donations after commentator Juan Williams was profiled, pulled over and expelled from Eden by the NPR Thought Police after he made sense one too many times on FOX News.
Station managers were deluged with complaints over the firing, but after they cross–referenced caller’s names and email addresses with their database of donors, they discovered the objections were coming from uncultured, Wal–Mart shoppers who were not regular contributors.
(Which brings up another question: why is it research when ‘progressives’ employ database mining, but an unreasonable invasion of privacy when conservatives do?)
What’s more, contributions set records. No figures from VA stations, but New Hampshire ‘Public’ Radio raised a record $473,000 and DC’s WAMU also set a record with $1.7 million, topping last year by $400,000. NHPR President Betsy Gardella, quoted by the Washington Post, said, “I think our takeaway is that our audience is very loyal and really values what we do.”
Congratulations, now let your audience pay for all of it.
Unfortunately it’s hard giving up your dependence on the kindness of strangers. Fearing Gov. McDonnell’s idea may go national, a group of ‘public’ radio and TV stations have launched a new website that sings the praises of living large on taxpayer dollars. The site is called 170millionamericans.org and refers to the estimated number of people who “interact” with ‘public’ broadcasting each month.
Yet when I “interact” with Comcast I don’t expect the government to pay for it. Why should liberals be any different?
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He’s a dynamic and entertaining speaker and can be reached at michael–email@example.com