Open letter in support of Public Broadcasting

To The Honorable J. Gresham Barrett:

I was listening to the radio this morning and was impressed by a detailed and well-done report on Internet pharmacies dealing in controlled substances.

Nobody else I know of in broadcasting is providing such in-depth coverage of important topics as National Public Radio. While other news outlets are focused on Michael Jackson, public broadcasting is covering less sensational stories that really matter, and providing the kind of information to help citizens in a democracy form their opinions based on facts rather than “sound bites”.

There is this silly discussion about Public Broadcasting having a liberal bias. Sure Moyer’s Now program is liberal, but what about John McLaughlin and William F. Buckley’s programs being on for years when Conservatism “wasn’t cool”.

This may reach you too late for today’s vote, but I want you to know of my personal commitment to Public Broadcasting. I urge you to support its funding. America needs Public Broadcasting; it’s one of the best public enterprises we have.

Thank you,

About Kevin

Just an old guy with opinions that I like to bounce off other people.
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One Response to Open letter in support of Public Broadcasting

  1. Kevin says:

    Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding federal funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Our federal deficit demands that we make tough funding choices, and I appreciate you taking the time to let me know your thoughts on this important issue.

    There is no doubt that public television can play an essential role in education and public service, as SCETV in particular does for our state. As you know on June 9, 2005, a House Appropriations Subcommittee voted to reduce CPB’s federal funding for Fiscal Year 2006 (FY06) from $400 million to $300 million primarily to provide additional Pell Grant funding to students in need, as well as for Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors. Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin offered an amendment on the House floor to H.R. 3010, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY2006, which includes the federal funding for CPB. Unfortunately, the amendment cut job training program funding from the Labor Department accounts, as well as Health Resources and Services Administration funds which include poison control centers and community health centers in order to provide an additional $100 million for CPB’s FY06.

    Funding decisions are never easy and sometimes I have to make a choice between two or three worthwhile programs. After taking into consideration the facts that were before me, I could not support the amendment. Pleased be assured that my vote on the Obey amendment was in no way an indication of my views of South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV), or PBS in general. As a common sense fiscal conservative, I considered the fact that CPB receives 85% of its money through corporate sponsors and private donors, and while this is a decrease it corresponds to less than 4% of their total annual funding level. Compared to $100 million cut in funding for job training programs and health care services that really have no other source of revenue.

    However, the Obey amendment did pass the House by a vote of 284 to 140 and I did support H.R. 3010 when it passed the House on June 24, 2005 by a vote of 250 to 151. This legislation is currently under consideration in the Senate. Please be assured that I understand your concerns and will keep them in mind as this bill continues to move through the FY2006 appropriations process. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and please do not hesitate to contact me whenever you have concerns about any issue under consideration in Congress.

    Best Wishes,

    Representative J. Gresham Barrett

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