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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Don't Take Public Media from the American People

My Fellow Anglers,
Extremists in Congress are pushing for a vote in the House on Thursday to slash all funding for NPR, PBS and other public media.
This is the closest they have ever come to pulling the plug on the news and cultural programming that a vast majority of Americans say they support.
A few brave members of Congress have spoken out against this assault on our media. With your help, we can get more members to take a stand:
It's a disgrace to see the extremes to which members of the "People's House" will go to silence what the public says, in poll after poll, are their most valued sources of news and programming. These outrageous political attacks need to stop. Here's why:
  • The proposed bills would zero out the $430 million federal appropriation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — a cost that averages a mere $1.39 per person. By comparison, we spent approximately $19.40 per ca-pita to subsidize ethanol production in 2010.
  • More than 70 percent of that funding goes to local stations around the country, providing the lifeblood for broadcasters in rural or economically hard-hit areas where there are fewer sources of news and programming.
  • Public media have become a vital resource for Americans at a time when commercial journalism is in decline: U.S. print newsrooms have shrunk by 25 percent in the past three years alone. Local television stations have lost more than 1,500 jobs since 2008. In some parts of the country, public media are the only source of local news and public affairs programs.
A few ultra-partisan members of Congress are pushing an agenda with which the vast majority of Americans disagree. It's time we came together to stop their plans to kill public media. Here's how we're going to do it:
Once we get enough signatures from your district, we'll deliver the letter to your representative. After that, we'll begin a call-in campaign urging your rep to stand with the American people against political efforts to undermine popular programs like PBS NewsHour, Frontline, Point of View and On the Media.
Public pressure works. Last week, Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) said, "It is critical that Congress continues to support funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting... Defunding CPB will significantly hurt National Public Radio news stations in less affluent areas because those communities rely on the vital federal funds set aside for public broadcasting."
We need to encourage more elected officials to join Rep. Rothman. By signing this letter, you're putting Congress on notice: Don't play politics with public media.
Please take action now.
Thank you,

Josh Stearns
Associate Program Director
Free Press Action Fund
P.S. In an era of media consolidation, fewer national and foreign bureaus and mass newsroom layoffs, NPR is one of the only media outlets actually bringing listeners more reporting from around the country and around the world. Despite its fulfilling that important need, the United States spends a mere pittance on public media, compared to other industrialized countries.
P.P.S. Public broadcasting is local: Stations are locally licensed and governed, locally programmed, and locally staffed. They are part of the communities they serve, and understand the needs of the people in their audience. In many rural areas, public broadcasting is the only source of free local, national and international news, public affairs, and cultural programming.
Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Learn more at
Congress is scheduled to vote on Thursday on a bill that could slash all federal funding for NPR, PBS and other public media. If political extremists get their way, we could be deprived of our country's most respected sources of news and cultural programming.
Free Press and our allies have collected nearly one million signatures in support of efforts to restore funding. Please join us. Sign our letter now and urge your member of Congress not to play politics with public media.
Thanks —Gary Anderson