Free Press Denounces House Vote to Zero Out Public Media Funding

Contact Info: 

Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

WASHINGTON -- On Saturday, the House voted to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the institution responsible for distributing federal funds that support 1,300 local public broadcasting stations. The cuts were made as part of a larger budget bill that proposes to slash $60 billion in federal funding to numerous valued public programs. An amendment to restore $460 million in funding for public broadcasting, introduced by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), was rejected in the House.

Free Press Action Fund President Josh Silver made the following statement:

“Public media remain one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak media landscape, with increasingly strong journalism and educational fare. Commercial media are in a well-documented free-fall, as advertising revenue vanishes and budgets are slashed. At roughly $1.50 per person per year, we spend far fewer tax dollars on public broadcasting than most democratic nations.

“The same politicians who put NPR and PBS on the chopping block support corporate tax breaks that deprive the U.S. Treasury of hundreds of billions in revenue. Compare that to public media’s $430 million per year, and you see that these cuts have nothing to do with reining in spending, but everything to do with irresponsible Washington politics that would further decimate local news gathering and serious programming that goes beyond shouting heads and recycled talking points. Today’s budget vote also threatens thousands of jobs and could leave fewer and fewer journalists on the beat in communities that are starving for local news and information.

“Congress is ignoring the millions of voices who have spoken out in favor of public media and is playing politics with our right to diverse and independent media. With all the critical challenges facing our country, we need more independent reporters and quality programming, not less. We need more local journalism, not more celebrity gossip. We need more educational children’s programming, not more Jersey Shore.”

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