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CPB Funding Cuts: To Cover or Not to Cover?

You have likely heard about the attack on funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Congress this week. In a nutshell, House Republicans, including Colorado’s own Rep. Doug Lamborn, believe that the usefulness of PBS has gone away since we now live in a 500 channel universe. To that end, House Republicans have eliminated any CPB funding from next year’s national budget.

Covering this issue has been a tricky conundrum for Public Television and Radio stations. While it is a major news story, many stations wonder if it is possible to cover the story as a Public Media entity in an unbiased way.  Is it appropriate for Public Media Stations to cover an issue that directly impacts their very existence?

With all due respect for our Public Media colleagues who are deferring this story to commercial news media, here at Colorado Public Television, we feel covering this story is not only our job, but a critical part of what we provide to our community.

The key for us is to cover the story just like we cover any story, with thoughtful analysis from both sides of the issue, providing a completely uncensored discourse, enabling our viewers to decide their own opinion on their own terms.

Tonight’s Colorado Inside Out fulfills this mission in spades.

Our second topic tonight directly covers the CPB funding issue.  Our panel was not bashful, nor were they entirely sympathetic to the plight of PBS stations.

David Kopel went so far as to say that since Public Broadcasting isn’t a direct vital government service, its funding should be cut in financial times such as these.

On the other hand, both Katy Atkinson and Ed Sealover pointed out the political part of this story, acknowledging that this move does very little to address a budget deficit that has grown into the trillions, and has more to do with Republicans and their opinion of NPR.

Any viewer of tonight’s program will be able to tell very quickly that our panel was not put in the position to give the PBS station “party line”.

Frankly, being independent thinkers, and some of them somewhat conservative independent thinkers, they did not pull any punches when it came to looking at the issue through the eyes of fiscal responsibility.

But to me, that is the critical part of covering this issue as a Public Media entity. If you’re going to be a platform for all voices, you must include those that may disagree with your own.

Having the courage to provide those voices, not only on this issue, but countless others, shows our community across the state why we are a vital resource. Our viewers’ membership dues, auction purchases and yes tax dollars, support a venue that is open to all voices. And even though we do live in a 500 channel universe, that quality still remains unique.

As always, please feel free to comment and let us know if you agree or disagree. All voices are welcome on our broadcasts and on our comment page, and as you know, even the ones that disagree with us.

Thank you for watching and supporting Colorado Public Television, your World View and Community Voice.

This entry was posted in 12 Talk by Dominic Dezzutti. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dominic Dezzutti

As the CPT12 Director of Production, Dominic Dezzutti is the coordinating producer for the station's weekly community affairs programs. Dominic serves as producer for Colorado Inside Out , Colorado Decides - the debate series jointly produced with CBS4 and serves as Executive Producer of CPT12's weekly live call-in program, Studio 12.

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