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Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The importance of public broadcasting
While some in Congress are trying to cut funding for public broadcasting, PBS has continued to show us why this would be such a bad idea.
Tuesday evening's Frontline program, The Dark Side, about Dick Cheney and his power struggles with the CIA, was riveting. I should also add that it was 90 minutes long without a single commercial.
The program showed how Dick Cheney came to power, how he expanded it, and the tactics he used in helping to shape the post-9-11 world.
What was most refreshing about this broadcast -- sans the reprieve from annoying commercials -- was that it had time to breathe. Since there were no commercials, or news flashes to tell us what Katie Holmes is up to, we actually got a pretty clear, detailed picture of how Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and George W. Bush spun us toward war, without ever having to own up to it.
The Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson leak story was mentioned, which admittedly was covered by many private news outlets ad nauseam. However, unlike what we so often get in cable news -- two partisan strategists or pundits who, instead of trying to give viewers a clear understanding of reality, throw around slogans for five minutes in an attempt to appeal to voters –- we got nuance, context, and quality information with background.
In the United States about $1.70 of the average person's annual taxes goes towards public broadcasting. To put this into perspective, the average American spends $33 of thier taxes on pork barrel spending.
If we hope get information as opposed to “info-tainment,” we ought to consider putting more money into public broadcasting.
And the public agrees.