The funding of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an issue that has created ideological divides between proponents and opponents. Proponents argue that PBS provides safe entertainment and education for children and cutting funding would be unethical. On the other hand, opponents argue that PBS has a business model that provides sufficient revenue to sustain its operations without government funding and there are more deserving entities that could benefit more from the funding.
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PBS has a business model that includes membership plans that translate to revenue, which could be used to operate the corporation. America has a very large debt deficit that will continue to increase with such funding (Gonzalez, 2012). For instance, in the 2013 federal budget, PBS received $300 million. Government funding accounts for a paltry 12 percent of the corporation’s revenues, which means that their revenues can support their operations (Toby, 2013). Their membership plans include subscriptions from individuals, organizations, and foundations. Opponents also argue that federal grants encourage biased journalism that favors the government (LaMonte, 2011).
It is unethical for an independent organization to receive funding from entities that it is supposed to keep in check. Obama wanted to increase funding for PBS, and in 2014 proposed an increase of $6 million. In 2012, Mitt Romney argued against the continued funding of PBS by stating that it was unethical to keep borrowing money from China to fund such projects (Toby, 2013). Cutting government subsidy would be one of his strategies for reducing the federal government’s debt deficit. Opponents argue that PBS funding should be cut in favor of more important government functions such as healthcare and spending (Strain, 2012). Health programs such as Medicare need more funding, which should come from cutting government spending in areas such as PBS subsidy.
Proponents of PBS continued funding argue that cutting the funding would threaten the stability of the corporation as well as 900 radio stations across the US (Toby, 2013). In that regard, the quality of broadcasting would decrease, and the quality of local, national, and international reporting would dwindle. It is imperative to consider that PBS and other government-backed stations provide programming that other corporations avoid. They also argue that cutting the subsidy would not make any significant difference in America’s federal deficit because taxpayers pay $1.35 annually to support the funding (Toby, 2013). They also argue that cutting the funding will undermine and curtail the role that public media contribute toward enhancing education, engaged citizenry, and public safety. The services that PBS provides to the public provide good enough reasons for their continued funding from the government.
The funding that PBS receives supports arts and creative education, which promote the common good (Jacobs, 2012). Other broadcasters provide little or no coverage for arts and creative education. Government funding is an indication that America is committed to promoting arts, culture, and education (Toby, 2013). To cut the funding would be an indication of the government’s failure to perform its central function of connecting citizens to resources that promote arts and culture. Finally, the federal backing that PBS receives improves its perception among Americans as a safe source of entertainment and education for children (Jacobs, 2012). Moreover, the removal of government funding will affect its reputation and the funding it receives from private organizations. In approximately 66 percent of European countries, funding for national broadcasters comes from license fees or indirect charges (Masters, 2014).
In conclusion, the issue of government funding of PBS is a controversial issue. Opponents argue that the only could be sued o funds more important areas such as health and security. Proponents argue that the funding is the government’s commitment to supporting arts, culture, and education. It is necessary for both sides to hold knowledgeable discussions and come up with a solution that represents the will of Americans.
Gonzalez, M. (2012). Should federal funding remain for public broadcasting? No. Web.
Jacobs, E. (2012). Three reasons for the federal government to support Big Bird and PBS. Web.
LaMonte, T. (2011). Should the federal government continue to fund NPR and PBS? Web.
Masters, T. (2014). How is TV funded around the world? Web.
Strain, M. R. (2012). Sacrifice PBS in favor of healthcare and security spending. Web.
Toby, M. (2013). Public service broadcasting: A comparative legal survey. New York, NY: UNESCO.