The Corporate Dictatorship of PBS and NPR
By Thom Hartmann / truth-out.org

 

 

PBS is blowing it, and their decision not to air a documentary on the Koch brothers is pretty horrifying proof of it.

But it wasn't always this way. On November 7, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Public Broadcasting Act.

The act set up public broadcasting in the United States, by establishing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which led to the creation of the Public Broadcasting Service, or PBS, and National Public Radio.

After signing the act into law, Johnson said that, “It announces to the world that our Nation wants more than just material wealth; our Nation wants more than a 'chicken in every pot.' We in America have an appetite for excellence, too. While we work every day to produce new goods and to create new wealth, we want most of all to enrich man's spirit. That is the purpose of this act.”

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 states that, “It is in the public interest to encourage the growth and development of public radio and television broadcasting, including the use of such media for instructional, educational, and cultural purposes… it is necessary and appropriate for the Federal Government to complement, assist, and support a national policy that will most effectively make public telecommunications services available to all citizens of the United States.”

When public broadcasting in America was first established, the intent was that Congress would provide funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which would in turn divide that funding up among the various public television and radio stations across the country.

This worked great for years.

The Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio brought educational programming, and independent news and political analysis to millions of Americans.

But, with the onset of “Reaganomics” 33 years ago, federal funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been slashed.

As a result, public broadcasting institutions now rely more and more on corporate and billionaire cash to operate, which is probably why PBS and NPR now filter what they play on their airwaves, so that they don’t anger their wealthy backers.

This is where the documentary “Citizen Koch” comes in.

“Citizen Koch” is a documentary about money and politics, focusing heavily on the uprising that took place in Wisconsin in 2011 and 2012.

It talks about how the Citizens United decision paved the way for secretive political spending by major players, including the Koch Brothers.

As Brendan Fischer over at the Center for Media and Democracy’s PRWatch points out, the documentary was originally supposed to air on PBS stations nationwide, but its funding was abruptly cut off when, it appears, David Koch was offended.

But why would PBS care if David Koch didn’t like one of their documentaries?

Because, according to Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, David Koch has donated upwards of $23 million to public television. And when you donate $23 million dollars to public television, you get more than just a tote bag or a coffee mug – you get to dictate the on-air programming.

This is the kind of influence and control that we see in mainstream media today too.

Thanks to the giant transnational corporations that own them, mainstream media outlets tailor their programming to appease their corporate backers.

We can't do anything about the big corporations that own our so-called “mainstream” media, but Public Broadcasting is still, at least in part, both legally and morally a part of our commons.

It’s time to take back our public airwaves, and cut-off the corporate and billionaire control over them, so that David Koch and his buddies don’t get to choose what you watch on TV.

And the only way to do that is to fully fund public radio and television.

Call your members of Congress, and tell them to protect funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, so that it can pick back up its work to “enrich man’s spirit.”

This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication.

4.3 ·
2
What's Next
Trending Today
18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who's Really in Charge of Women's Bodies
Julianne Ross · 19,639 views today · When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would...
Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure
Daniel Quinn · 9,801 views today · PART ONE A fable to start with Once upon a time life evolved on a certain planet, bringing forth many different social organizations—packs, pods, flocks, troops, herds, and...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 5,611 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
Lawns Are for Suckers. Plant a Garden - for the Climate!
Nathanael Johnson · 5,289 views today · Ripping out your lawn and planting kale and peppers won’t just lead to great stir-fry — a new study finds it could make major contributions to fighting climate change...
You Should Get Naked More Often. It's Good for You.
Joni Sweet · 3,820 views today · When Nelly encouraged overheated people worldwide to get naked in 2002, he was unknowingly advocating much more than just a sexy, sweaty dance party. Sunbathing, sleeping...
How Native Americans Managed "Wild" Land Long Before Settlers
Sami Grover · 2,514 views today · When European settlers first came to North America, they assumed they were looking at "untouched" nature. Sure, there were native peoples, but history tells us they didn't...
A New Story for Humanity (2016)
102 min · 2,354 views today · Inspired by the New Story Summit at the Findhorn Foundation: a sold-out multicultural, multigenerational inquiry into a new story for humanity, attended by change makers and...
Solidarity Is About What You Do - Not Who You Are.
R.L. Stephens · 2,144 views today · I am Black. I capitalize Black and leave white lowercased. Sure, it’s the accepted spelling, but really I do it because it feels good. My family lived in Missouri, but my...
Bioregional Quiz: How Well Do You Know the Place in Which You Live?
Rua Lupa · 1,956 views today · In the vast emptiness of space there are an unimaginable number of galaxies, each galaxy containing billions upon billions of stars. Looking at one galaxy we find an average...
Gabor Maté: Why Our Culture Makes So Many Of Us Unhappy
3 min · 1,637 views today · Dr. Gabor Maté explains why it is that our culture makes so many of us unhappy, unkind to one another, miserable, alienated from ourselves, etc. Watch the full interview in Part 2.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,457 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Why You Should Take Your Kids Out of School
Ben Hewitt · 1,042 views today · We don't need no education. At least not of the traditional, compulsory, watch-the-clock-until-the-bell-rings kind. As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet...
Masculinity Is Killing Men: The Roots of Men and Trauma
Kali Holloway · 996 views today · We begin the damaging process of turning boys into men long before boyhood ends.
How Stress Affects Your Brain
4 min · 945 views today · Stress isn’t always a bad thing; it can be handy for a burst of extra energy and focus, like when you’re playing a competitive sport or have to speak in public. But when it’s...
Why People's Opinions of You Aren't Real
4 min · 836 views today · "You are what you love and not what loves you." - From Charlie Kaufman's film "Adaptation"
What Is Universal Basic Income?
2 min · 755 views today · What is Universal Basic Income? Everyone's talking about a 'citizen's income' or 'basic income', but what on earth is it?! It sounds like a Utopian dream, but support for a...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 704 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are
Mark Wolynn · 687 views today · The past is never dead. It’s not even past. — William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 599 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 528 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
The Corporate Dictatorship of PBS and NPR