Tahlequah Daily Press

Editorials

October 10, 2012

Attack on PBS an assault on Fourth Estate

TAHLEQUAH — It’s a shame many who aspire to an upper-tier public office, or who already hold one, are determined to eliminate funding for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System. Polls show mainstream Americans don’t approve of the politically-charged efforts to dismantle them.

Despite a general consensus that Mitt Romney bested President Barack Obama in last week’s debate, pundits have had a field day with Romney’s comment that he’d kick PBS to the curb as part of his budget-trimming plan. Oddly, other than “Obamacare,’ PBS was the only specific target Romney mentioned. That cut wouldn’t even constitute a blip on the budget radar – not when compared to the trillions of dollars funneled to the energy industry, the military, and countless other entities, departments, divisions and pet projects.

But politicians these days are ignoring public opinion, and concentrating on the whims of core partisans and financial supporters.

This would seem an unwise gambit, but with a polarized electorate increasingly willing to sacrifice principles for party plank, nonsensical behavior is paying off at the polls.

If politicians were listening to the public, they would be raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, since polls show a sizable majority favors that action. Obama supports it, too, but it’s not scoring him any points. Many conservative voters who agree with him on that accord find plenty to criticize elsewhere.

A respect for public opinion would also give politicians pause before aiming the knife at Amtrak. Some folks refuse to acknowledge there are a few cases – like highways and the military – where an infusion of taxpayer funds can benefit us all. Prohibitively high fuel costs for driving, coupled with poorly managed airlines that give customers substandard service in exchange for higher ticket prices, have boosted Amtrak ridership to consecutive records for the past 11 months.

Even in Oklahoma, one of the most conservative states, support for funding PBS is strong. A recent online poll conducted by the Daily Press drew 182 responses. Although we received calls from two people who said they’d been asked by friends to log on and vote for killing PBS, we assume supporters were making calls as well.

Fifty-one people said government funding for public broadcasting should be eliminated. Another 25 said it should be trimmed, but not eliminated. Sixty-nine people said government funding should be increased according to inflation, and perhaps surprisingly, 30 people supported substantial funding increases for public broadcasting. Seven were undecided.

The poll suggests over 68 percent of our readers don’t want funding for public broadcasting totally eliminated. Obama most assuredly doesn’t enjoy the support of 68 percent of our readers, so we infer Romney isn’t listening to some of his own supporters.

As we’ve said before, NPR has been able to maintain an even keel for the very reason it is often under attack: because it relies partly on “government” support, rather than being solely beholden to a private corporation and its investors, who have their own agenda – namely, making profits. Some who claim NPR and PBS offer “liberal” programming may either be ignorant or spectacular fibbers, but it’s more likely they lean so far to the right that any programming not in lockstep with their own belief system is viewed as biased.

There are also ultra-liberals who dislike NPR because it always allows their conservative nemeses air time. Public broadcasting’s strenuous efforts to allow equal time to diverse opinions has no merit for such rigid people.

An attack on public broadcasting can be viewed as an assault on the Fourth Estate. Without real journalism – not to be confused with the drivel from posers on the Internet and certain one-sided TV and radio pundits – the public cannot stay abreast of what’s happening in the world around them. This would be good news for any politicians bent on serving themselves rather than voters.

Those who oppose the legitimate and objective media, either public or private, also oppose open government, and democracy itself. A media entity that answers mainly to “the public” has no reason to interest itself in anything but the truth. And that’s what scares some people.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Stocks