The federal government spends only $1.43 per person each year on public media, compared to more than 70 times that amount in the United Kingdom or over 80 times that amount in Denmark.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS, and NPR were launched 40 years ago. But today only 20 percent of public media’s cost is actually underwritten by the federal government through the CPB, forcing public media outlets to increasingly rely on corporate underwriters for support.
To make matters worse, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that controls that 20 percent funding is run by political appointees who have abused their position to inject partisan politics into grant-making. Famously, during the Bush administration Karl Rove’s friend Kenneth Tomlinson chaired the CPB. Tomlinson was fired from his position, but not before filling the organization’s ranks with rightwing operatives and hiring a former RNC head as CEO.
In other words, “corporate funding [except for the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation and Macarthur Foundation] is bad, so let’s eliminate all corporate funding of NPR and PBS [except for the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation and Macarthur Foundation] and adopt the UK model and force everybody to pay an annual tax to fund NPR and PBS”. Wonder when the phony TV detector vans start showing up in Amerika.