Public broadcasting is once again under attack in this country. As scholars like Robert McChesney and Erik Barnouw have shown, it always had a tough time finding funding and a place in public life here, where (unlike, say, the U.K. or France) broadcasting was, from the beginning, a primarily commercial and relatively unregulated arena. But, as pressure ramps up to cut government spending, House Republicans are proposing eliminating even the minuscule amount of funding disbursed now. From ABC News:
The House Republicans budget would rescind any funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which partially supports these two organizations for the remainder of the year, and zero out millions in funds after that.
As you might imagine from reading my other posts, I think this is incredibly short-sighted and, quite simply, a terrible idea.
So here is Mr. Rogers, in 1969, defending public broadcasting before Congress. He describes his show as a neighborhood expression of care, which offers a community-building and cost-effective alternative to the bombardment of commercial broadcasting that was then (as now) filling the airwaves.