I say yes, they sure should. Where else can anyone get decent programming, free of charge, without paying for cable TV? There are a lot of people in this country who cannot afford cable TV, and without access to the kind of programs that PBS produces, kids will be stuck watching only the garbage on free-to-air channels. I am not talking about families that choose not to have TV in their home, but rather people who do choose to have TV but cannot afford cable. PBS gives them great programming for their children to watch. Granted, these are not the only people who watch PBS, but I think they are a big reason why PBS continues to get federal funding. However, that could all change in the coming months, as President Bush wants to cut the funding in half.
Currently, the federal budget for PBS is set at $400 million – but it might get cut to $200 million. Yep, we have $12 billion a month to spend on war, but we cannot spend $400 million a year on high-quality, low-cost TV programs for children and families. Families of all ages, all ethnic groups, and all economic strata, benefit from the programming on PBS. Personally, I would rather let my kids watch PBS all day instead of these other cartoon channels that are full of violence and ads for crappy toys and food.
Most of the funding for all the shows on PBS come from private parties; the $400 million is just a drop in the bucket. I grew up on Sesame Street & Mr. Rogers thanks to PBS – I hope my kids get to as well.
So what do you think? Do you think our government should give $400 million a year for PBS?