In a country where 99% of our media outlets are dominated by multinational corporations that are bound only by the moral guidance of the almighty dollar, and who, in turn, hold a considerable amount of influence on Capitol Hill, recent actions taken by the House Appropriations Committee should come as no surprise. Last Thursday, the committee approved a spending bill that would slash funding for public television and radio by nearly 50%. More specifically, this measure would reduce the funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the organization that directs taxpayer dollars to public TV and radio stations, by $100 million dollars. Additional funding would be slashed in the following ways:
$39 million to help cover the stations' mandatory conversion to digital programming
$50 million for upgrading PBS's aging satellite technology
$25 million from the "Ready To Learn" program supervised by the Education Department (this includes funding for Sesame Street, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Reading Rainbow, etc.).
These cuts could potentially wipe out public broadcasting entirely in rural and disadvantaged areas of the country and force stations in more metropolitan areas to take on, ironically, more corporate sponsors.
Moveon.org has made it really simple to sign a petition asking congress to reconsider their position and they've already surpassed their goal of 1 MILLION signatures. You can sign up here. And please, pass this link around to everyone you know.
I find it hard to believe that in this great nation of ours we have no trouble at all spending BILLIONS of dollars to chase down imaginary weapons of mass destruction, build oil pipelines and train other countries' armies how to fight like we do (because that has worked so well in the past), but when it comes to providing free educational programming to people who don't have access to or can't afford cable, it's equally as easy to pull funding. (longest sentence ever?)
Really... make your voice heard. Take action. Do something. It takes two seconds to sign this petition.