Romney renews pledge to cut PBS federal funding

U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney tells Fortune magazine that the American public broadcaster, as well as such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts, "have to stand on their own."
August 16, 2012

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has elaborated on his plans to slash U.S. government spending to Fortune magazine Рplans that include cutting federal funding to PBS.

In a comprehensive interview with Fortune’s Andy Serwer and David Whitford, Romney reiterated his plans to cut federal funding to the American public broadcaster, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities – plans that he first brought to light in January of this year.

“Some of these things, like those endowment efforts and PBS I very much appreciate and like what they do in many cases, but I just think they have to stand on their own rather than receiving money borrowed from other countries, as our government does on their behalf,” he told Fortune.

Romney told Fortune that the cuts would contribute to capping government spending at 20% of GDP.

Addressing the candidate’s comments made earlier in the year, PBS president Paula Kerger told reporters at the winter TCA press tour that while the amount of money collected through the federal government adds up to, on average, 15% of PBS’ budget, it would still be quite difficult if not impossible to glean those funds through other sources. As for PBS becoming ad-supported, a suggestion that’s been made often by past politicians who’ve called for cuts to PBS funding, Kerger told reporters that would violate FCC rules and would radically transform the programming mandate of the network.

She repeated those concerns during the summer TCA press tour, telling reporters that if federal funding to PBS through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was cut, a number of stations would “go dark.”

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), established by the U.S. Congress in 1967, says the cost to American citizens of supporting the close to 1,300 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations is “approximately $1.35 per American per year.” The CPB also funds the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and five minority program consortia, representing African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander producers. It also provides discretionary funding for radio programming that can be accessed by National Public Radio (NPR), Public Radio International (PRI), American Public Media and other producers.


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