When We Bring Totebags to a Knife Fight – They are Filled with Petitions

Some members of Congress have been spending so much time fretting about what’s going on in the executive offices at NPR that they have lost sight of the local people, local jobs, and local organizations in their districts that depend on public broadcasting. Today we are sending a wake-up call to Capitol Hill.

Today, Free Press Action Fund, MoveOn and Credo Action delivered more than one million petitions to the House and Senate calling for a stop to cuts aimed at destroying public broadcasting. Together, with unions representing writers, actors, and engineers whose jobs are at stake, we demanded that policy makers stop playing politics with NPR, PBS and the 1,300 vital local stations that reach nearly every 99% of America.

Partisans in Congress and their cable news friends might like to jabber on about trumped up controversies unfolding in Washington, DC, but when it comes to public broadcasting the facts trump the fiction. Federal funding for public broadcasting supports more than 20,000 jobs all across America, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting estimates that that funding contributes more than $1 billion to the U.S. economy. For every federal dollar that is sent out to local stations, those stations match it with six dollars from other sources.

What’s the result? Seventy percent of America opposes cutting federal funding and year after year, people across the political spectrum call public broadcasting the best expenditure of tax payer dollars, after national defense.

Public media is not a partisan issue. Just today, GOPSen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) stood up to oppose cuts to public broadcasting, calling it “a valuable service.” If only more members of Congress from rural, underserved states would consider the service public broadcasters provide to their constituents, rather than the political points to be scored with a small faction of the voting public.

The only people trying to make this a partisan issues are the people attacking public media. Public broadcasters have been playing nice, working hard to illustrate their value to their opponents and appease their attackers. It hasn’t worked– backing down from a bully only makes the bully stronger.

Public broadcasters have spent too long playing defense. They’ve tried to stay above politics, but their critics keep dragging them down into the mud.

Today, we are standing up and saying no more. No more smears, no more baseless attacks, no more meddling with our free press. We’re going to stand up for what we know is right—hard-hitting, thought-provoking reporting that ACTUALLY fair, that’s ACTUALLY balanced, that covers issues and voices that are ignored by commercial media.

The American people support public broadcasting because it is one of the last places left where journalists talk about issues that matter to them. That’s not a liberal bias. It’s not conservative bias. It’s real American journalism, the way the founders envisioned it when they protected the press in the First Amendment.

If you want to join the fight, stand with us, and stand with public broadcasting. The time is now, and the fight is just getting started.

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