Attacks on Public Media

Every year, for almost a decade, Americans have ranked public television as the institution they trust most. And more than 70 percent of Americans see funding for public television as money “well spent.” Exactly how much do Americans spend to support this resource? Pocket change: The United States spends less than$1.50 per person on public broadcasting — 20 times less than Germany and a whopping 70 times less than Denmark.

Yet every year a few members of Congress threaten public media’s survival with legislation that would gut CPB’s funding.

And state-level budget battles have eroded funding for public broadcasters around the country. In 2011, Free Press released the first-ever inventory of state funding cuts and examined the impact these reductions have had on local stations.

Free Press continues to fight for public media funding in the face of these attacks and is working to build a new movement of people to protect and expand noncommercial media in the United States.

Blog Posts

  • All for One and One for All

    May 8, 2013
    Imagine for a moment if 50 percent of America’s media was noncommercial. How would that change whose stories got told and which issues got debated? How would it shape access to information or the role of arts and education in our homes and communities?
  • Three Media Issues We Can't Ignore in 2013

    January 8, 2013
    We’ve accomplished a lot in 2012, but when it comes to the fight for better media there is always more to do. Here are three critical issues we must tackle in the coming year.
  • Puppet Power

    November 5, 2012

    "Power to the puppets!" The chant rang out Saturday over the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where roughly 1,000 people gathered to show their support for public media.

    A meme was born minutes after Mitt Romney said in the first presidential debate that he would cut funding for Big Bird and PBS. Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and Photoshopped images flooded the Internet, but the buzz faded after a few weeks. Then along came the Million Puppet March.

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Press Releases

  • FCC Chairman Genachowski to Step Down

    March 21, 2013
    WASHINGTON -- The Wall Street Journal reports that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce on Friday that he will step down from his position as head of the agency. Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement: "When Julius Genachowski took office, there were high hopes that he would use his powerful position to promote the public interest. But instead of acting as the people's champion, he’s catered to corporate interests."
  • Romney’s Threats to Public Media Ignore Popular Will

    August 15, 2012

    WASHINGTON – In an interview published Wednesday in Fortune, presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that he would eliminate funding for public broadcasting if elected.

  • New Report: Cutting Public Media Funding 'Risks the Collapse of the System'

    June 21, 2012

    WASHINGTON — An independent analysis of public media funding requested by Congress has found that "the loss of federal support for public broadcasting risks the collapse of the system.” The public media newspaper Current first reported the study’s findings.

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Resources

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News from Around the Web

  • Public Broadcasting Funding in Danger in Kansas and Elsewhere

    Kansas City Star
    February 11, 2013

    In Kansas and across the country, public broadcasters find statehouses reluctant to help with the bills for two reasons: There’s simply less money to spare, and Republican-dominated legislatures see the radio and TV stations as too liberal.

  • Puppets Protest Romney Threat to PBS

    International Business Times
    November 5, 2012

    Puppets urged politicians to keep up federal funding for U.S. public broadcasting after Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney threatened to pull the plug on Big Bird and friends.

  • The Million Puppet March: Fighting for Public Broadcasting, with Felt and Fur

    Washington Post
    November 5, 2012

    It might have been the friendliest rally to ever come to the Mall -- especially three days before the election. Puppets and toddlers danced. Grown-ups in furry costumes sang. A girl dressed as Cookie Monster handed out Chips Ahoy to passersby. There was even a puppet-themed wedding. The Million Puppet March -- a political rally against Mitt Romney’s debate remarks about Big Bird and cutting funding to public television -- may not have actually been a million puppets strong, but furry monsters came from far and near in a post-Halloween parade of support for PBS.

Learn More

  • Defending Press Freedom

    The media landscape is changing dramatically, empowering more and more people to become media makers even as the traditional infrastructures that have supported journalism for years are eroding.
  • Low Power FM Radio

    Low Power FM radio stations are community-based nonprofit outlets that broadcast to neighborhoods and small towns throughout the country.

    LPFM stations have a limited broadcast range of just a few miles, but their impact on communities can be immense. These noncommercial stations inject vibrancy into a radio dial that has suffered from years of media consolidation.

    LPFM stations offer a platform for content and viewpoints that traditional media overlook. These stations foster community identity and serve as hubs for vital safety information during emergencies.

  • Nonprofit Journalism

    The ravages of consolidation and the rise of the Internet have converged to create a crisis in journalism.  Job cuts have decimated newsrooms, media companies have closed foreign bureaus, and the number of journalists covering statehouses has shrunk to almost zero in many places. Many small cities and towns — and even large cities like New Orleans — are now without a daily local newspaper.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good