For Immediate Release

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Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

Free Press: GOP Senate Bill Pursues Political Witch Hunt, Ignores Public Wishes

WASHINGTON - Senators Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced a bill Friday that would eliminate federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. DeMint also attacked public broadcasting in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published the same day.

Craig Aaron, managing director of the Free Press Action Fund, made the following statement:

“This attack is déjà vu all over again. This bill isn’t about a budget deficit; it’s yet another political witch hunt aimed at silencing serious journalism and quality programming. Millions of Americans are already flooding Capitol Hill with calls and letters telling Congress to stop meddling with the thousands of local community stations and tens of thousands of workers who rely on these funds.


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“What Senators DeMint and Coburn forget is that the public — including millions of their own constituents and more than half of the GOP faithful, according to surveys — really like public broadcasting. It’s baffling that two senators who represent states with large rural populations want to kill the primary source of local news and current events for communities that the commercial media often overlook.

“And it’s especially hard to listen to the breathless outrage about executive pay at PBS and NPR from these same senators, when they have no qualms about defending the huge bonuses paid to bank executives who were bailed out with taxpayer dollars. It wasn’t long ago that Sen. DeMint was bemoaning the ‘sad day in America when the government starts setting pay, no matter how outlandish,’ and Coburn was questioning what business the government had ‘telling them how to run the banks?’

“With that kind of consistency, you can hardly wonder why four out of five Americans trust public broadcasting, and not even half trust Congress.”


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