GOP lawmakers call for defunding of public broadcasting

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They implied the corporation spends irresponsibly, citing compensation amounts for the corporation's president, and argued public broadcasting is obsolete, noting that "[w]e are fortunate that in today’s media landscape, consumers have many news and entertainment choices, unlike when the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act to create and fund CPB was passed."

DeMint and Lamborn decried the increases in CPB funding that have been approved over the past decade. Between 2001 and 2012, they said, the CPB’s appropriated funding increased by nearly 31 percent, from $340 million to $444.1 million. 

"Even though media and information have become more accessible than ever, funding for CPB has exploded," they wrote.

CPB is preparing a report for Congress, to be presented next month, about how efficiently it could operate without federal funding. DeMint and Lamborn said they "look forward" to the report about a privately funded CPB.

While public broadcasters have traditionally have to rely partially on donations from the public to operate, a recent federal appeals court decision opened the door to allowing them to air political advertisements — a decision that could provide public stations with a lucrative revenue stream.

But Free Press public media campaign director Josh Stearns defended federal funding of CPB and said DeMint, Lamborn and their colleagues "who consider this an ‘enormous’ expense need to spend more time with ‘the Count’ on Sesame Street."

“Sen. DeMint and Rep. Lamborn have either lost their calculators or are trying to score political points," Stearns said, adding that based on public opinion, "they’re not representing their constituents or serving their country well by playing political games with public broadcasting."

"Members of Congress should take time to recall how last year’s defunding threats met with an extraordinary public backlash," Stearns said.

“The majority of Americans strongly support federal funding for public broadcasting,” he said, regardless of political party.