PBS Fires Back at Trump’s Budget Elimination: Costs Small, Benefits Tangible

“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,” PBS CEO says

On Thursday, President Trump targeted the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities for complete elimination in his first proposed budget. The Public Broadcasting Service isn’t going down without a fight.

“PBS and our nearly 350 member stations, along with our viewers, continue to remind Congress of our strong support among Republican and Democratic voters, in rural and urban areas across every region of the country,” PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said in a statement.

“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,” he continued. “The cost of public broadcasting is small, only $1.35 per citizen per year, and the benefits are tangible: increasing school readiness for kids 2-8, support for teachers and homeschoolers, lifelong learning, public safety communications and civil discourse.”

PBS pointed to two national surveys that “reveal that voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly oppose eliminating federal funding for public television,” according to the network’s statement.

Rasmussen Reports shows that just 21 percent of Americans, and only 32 percent of Republicans, favor ending public broadcasting support.

Trump’s budget would zero out the $445 million budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a substantial source of funding for programming and broadcast operations on public TV stations and NPR radio stations nationwide, per the Washington Post.

The budget would also eliminate the budgets for both national endowments, which stood at $148 million each in 2016, as well as $230 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which supports libraries and museums. Additional cuts would affect two tourist mainstays in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.

Combined, the four arts organizations account for less than 0.02 percent of the U.S. government’s $4.6 trillion budget.