Sunday, January 15, 2012

Has CATO Lost Its Mind?

You might be forgiven for thinking so after reading this:
Will Romney End PBS, Public Radio Funding?

Leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney insistently pledges that he will end public funding for NPR and for PBS (the latter partially funds NPR). Other congressional Republicans agree with him.

For decades as a reporter, I have continually found vital information on public radio and television that at first was available nowhere else. A current example that may be of importance to many of you, particularly parents of schoolchildren:

An NPR story ("No, the School Nurse Is Not in," Jan. 3) reveals that, "More than half of American public schools don't have a full-time nurse, and the situation is getting worse as school systems further cut budgets. This year, 51 were laid off in Philadelphia's public schools, 20 in a Houston suburb, 15 in San Diego and dozens more in other school systems nationwide."

That's Nat Hentoff and we all know that NPR does some fine reporting. Of course, they do some terribly biased reporting, too. In that they are like much of the mainstream media, and though we may complain, we do have the choice to turn it off. There is, of course, the fact that NPR receives a not-inconsiderable amount of taxpayer money -- a holdover of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. And that's exactly the type of subsidy we've come to expect CATO to fight against.

Those of us opposed to public subsidies for NPR, PBS, CPB, ETC., don't particularly want to see the thing go out of business; we just think that if the product is good enough, it can attract advertisers who will support it. Wouldn't CATO agree? Perhaps, not.

If Mitt Romney makes these cuts, he will create a dark hole in our lives that will defy James Madison's warning — which becomes more contemporary every day: "A people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives ... a popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both."

Commercials won't tell us that our public schools no longer have nurses in our neighborhood.

As they say, read the whole thing. It's the weirdest post I've ever seen there.

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