When conservative firebrand Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., looks at public broadcasting, he sees a scam. Or, as he puts it in a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, “When presidents of government-funded broadcasting are making more than the president of the United States, it's time to get the government out of public broadcasting.”
“The so-called commercial free public airwaves have been filled with pleas for taxpayer cash,” DeMint writes. And, he adds, lobbying by the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio will “prevent Congress from saving hundreds of millions of dollars each year by cutting their subsidies”
Critics of the effort to end funding for public broadcasting point out that those subsidies are mere pennies in the federal government’s budget, but some conservatives say that’s not the point – it’s like families cutting their “latte budgets.”
DeMint points out that even though PBS President Paula Kerger took to the airwaves to plead for continued public funds, she manages to make $632,233 in annual compensation. “Surely it can operate without tax dollars,” he writes.
“The best way to stop the ‘partisan meddling’ in public broadcasting that MoveOn.org complains about,” he argues, “is by ending the taxpayers' obligation to pay for it. The politics will be out of public broadcasting as soon as the government gets out of the business of paying for it.”