Filed Under:  Letter to the Editor, Opinion

The value of public broadcasting

8th October 2012   ·   0 Comments

I was very sorry to hear Gover­nor Romney’s comment about his desire to eliminate federal funding for public television. He especially targeted our children’s programming. This is not a new position for him as he has stated it several times over the last few months. However, in as much as it was not in the Republican party platform, I thought that it might not become a political issue during this election season.

Parents know well the value of the educational service we offer to our region’s children. And it is my assumption that given the right forum we could make a strong case that would appeal to Governor Romney. After all, after a conversation with Ken Burns, President Reagan declar­ed that we were exactly the right model for a public/private partnership. And it used to be said that the only thing Barry Gold­water and Ted Kennedy could agree on was public broadcasting.

I am also sure that Governor Romney with his history of managing budgets would understand that with a line item that is less than 2/10,000ths of the federal budget the elimination of every penny of our appropriation would have no effect on our country’s fiscal affairs.

But it would affect our children. Eighty-one percent of children aged two to eight watch us. By watching as few as two episodes of our children’s series SUPER WHY!¸children’s literacy skills have been shown to improve by as much as 46 percent. Children who watch public television’s children’s programming tend to learn an additional 7.5 letters compared to children who don’t watch.

And you are not alone in your support of public television Public opinion surveys over many years have shown that the American people consider public media the best investment of federal funds, second only to national defense. In fact, support for public media runs all across the political spectrum. Sixty-nine percent of all Americans, including a majority of Republ­icans, Democrats, and Indepen­dents, and half of self-identified Tea Party supporters oppose the elimination of this support.

I hope that at some point, someone gets the opportunity to sit down with the governor and discuss this.

– Randall Feldman
President & General Manager
WYES

This article was originally published in the October 8, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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