U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his proposed budget blueprint on Thursday, which included the elimination of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which provides funding for PBS and National Public Radio stations.
PBS was quick to respond to Trump’s proposed ax to public media funding. In a statement, the public broadcaster noted that in two national surveys — one from Rasmussen Reports, and one conducted jointly by leading Republican and Democratic researchers for PBS — voters across the spectrum overwhelmingly oppose cutting federal funding for public television.
The Rasmussen survey found that 21% of Americans — and 32% of Republicans — want to end public broadcasting support. While the PBS Hart Research-American Viewpoint poll found that 83% of voters — including 70% of those who voted for Trump — say they want Congress to find savings elsewhere.
PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger (pictured) said in a statement that PBS and its nearly 350 member stations have strong support among Republicans and Democratic voters in rural and urban areas across the country.
“We have always had support from both parties in Congress, and will again make clear what the public receives in return for federal funding for public broadcasting,” Kerger noted.
According to PBS, public broadcasting costs $1.35 per citizen, per year. In return, benefits include supporting teachers, parents’ and homeschoolers with educational tools, increasing school readiness for kids two to eight years, promoting civil discourse and lifelong learning.
Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB, said in a statement that the elimination of federal funding to CPB, “would initially devastate and ultimately destroy public media’s role in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions – all for Americans in both rural and urban communities.”
“We will work with the new Administration and Congress in raising awareness that elimination of federal funding to CPB begins the collapse of the public media system itself and the end of this essential national service,” she added.
According to an article in the Washington Post, the CPB had a budget of $445 million in 2014, and of that, PBS was dependent upon 7% of its revenue from the agency.