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Proposed cuts within Trump’s first federal budget proposal to Congress would zero out the $445 million annual allocation the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) receives to underwrite popular programming like Democracy Now!, Fresh Air, Frontline and the PBS Kids lineup, and help keep local public television and radio stations on the air. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

The President's Attack on Public Broadcasting Puts Him at Odds with the American People

Donald Trump’s latest attack on the media will unfold in an unusual place: congressional hearings over the national budget.

Tim Karr

 by Free Press

On Thursday, the president proposed eliminating all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a main revenue source for hundreds of local NPR and PBS stations across the country.

The cuts, part of Trump’s first federal budget proposal to Congress, would zero out the $445 million annual allocation the CPB receives to underwrite popular programming like Democracy Now!, Fresh Air, Frontline and the PBS Kids lineup, and help keep local public television and radio stations on the air.

The CPB’s $445 million cut amounts to just 0.04 percent of the $1.1 trillion of total annual discretionary spending in the president’s proposal — or approximately $1.35 per person.

Seen through another lens, that $445 million amounts to little more than 2 percent of the total cost of Trump’s proposed Mexican border wall — estimated at $21.6 billion by the Department of Homeland Security.

Groups like the Free Press Action Fund and millions of people across the country will fight to save the CPB. A 2017 poll rated PBS and its 350 member stations as the most-trusted nationally known institution. Survey respondents also rated the federal funding that supports PBS as taxpayer money “well spent.”

Previous Republican attempts to slash the CPB have met overwhelming public opposition as millions of people have called and written their elected representatives in protest.

If the Trump administration thinks it can now push its anti-media agenda past the tens of millions of people who rely on public media every day, it’s in for a surprise. Even before the budget proposal was known, hundreds of thousands of people had written their members of Congress to demand that they stand against any Trump plan to destroy public broadcasting.

Attacks on public media and the quality news programming it presents are to be expected from a president who believes the media is the “enemy of the American people.”

But members of Congress should do themselves a favor and listen to the voices of their constituents instead of cozying up to the administration and its ill-advised plan to silence NPR and PBS.

Public and community media are treasured local institutions that are far more popular than Congress or this president. Urge your representative and senators to oppose Trump’s plan.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Tim Karr

Tim Karr

Tim Carr is the Campaign Director for Free Press and SavetheInternet.com. Karr oversees campaigns on public broadcasting and noncommercial media, fake news and propaganda, journalism in crisis, and the future of the Internet. Before joining Free Press, Tim served as executive director of MediaChannel.org and vice president of Globalvision New Media and the Globalvision News Network.

 

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