Pull the plug on public broadcasting

Despite the mandate of the November 2010 election to reign in government spending and get hold of the ever-spiraling federal deficit, we learn that President Obama still wants to increase the amount for public broadcasting to $451 million. What doesn't the president understand about the results of the November election? Many of the voters are fed up - and then some - with our government funding everything from recreational bicycle paths to humorist Garrison Keillor's radio frolics.

NPR and PBS may serve a narrow audience with its arts and cultural programming, but the time of continued public funding of the operations appears at an end. Public radio is a luxury the taxpayer can't afford anymore. Besides, there are far too many worthier public efforts that have already received, or are about to receives, the axe.

Also, when hard-working taxpayers hear that that many high-level public broadcasting officials (like Vivian Schiller) receive annual salaries in excess of $100,000, it's hard to muster sympathy for continued public funding of things like "Sesame Street" or "All Things Considered."

Here's our vote on the public broadcasting debate:Either reform NPR and PBS to be inclusive of more broadly public views and issues or simply do without the assistance of we the taxpayers.

Can NPR and PBS survive on their own? Sure they can. Welcome to the world of private-sector news gathering, where we all compete, sink or swim on the merits of our products and creativity. Not to fear - there's still billionaire George Soros and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation to help out with the shortfall. And instead of Pledge Week - how does Pledge Month grab you?

Lou Varricchio

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