One trendy, conservative movement of the day is to slice funding for public broadcasting. The reasoning is simple: Public broadcasting is left-leaning and the government should stop helping to provide content when private companies can do the same thing.
Current efforts are under way in Washington and Topeka to cut government aid to public television and radio stations.
Proponents rationalize that, say, “Sesame Street,” which receives 20 percent of its budget from federal funds, could find a commercial station willing to take it on and would probably be able to increase its merchandising revenue to boot. The same notion applies to NPR’s “All Things Considered” and other popular shows.
But there’s a huge flaw in this notion of budgetary justice. The ax is raised to penalize the left, but it’s going to fall squarely on the center.
Consider the High Plains region, an area of dwindling population and resources, though still a vital piece of America’s agricultural scene. In that area, which includes rural Kansas, High Plains Public Radio is as much a part of the landscape as the limitless horizon and brilliant night sky.
But, unlike national programs that would lose perhaps 5 percent of their funding if Congress and Kansas ended their subsidies, High Plains would lose 35 percent of its total funding — 20 percent from Kansas and 15 percent from Washington.
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