Monday, June 20, 2005

Help Save Big Bird!

Alright, up until now I've never done this on my blog, but I feel compelled to at this point....

The US Congress is poised to drastically slash funding for public broadcasting stations. These budget cuts endanger the viability of public, non-commercial programming on both radio and television. Both NPR and PBS will be negatively impacted if these cuts are realized.

NPR is one of my major sources of news and information, and I really appreciate how they differ from regular, mainstream radio news outlets. Their stories are typically much longer (try 6+ minutes versus 30 seconds) and they cover a wider variety of issues, in my opinion. PBS' television news coverage differs in much the same way. Additionally, my kids, when they watch television at all, are almost always watching a PBS Kids show. There are no commercials, and the shows are generally of high quality and have an educational undertone, again in my opinion.

Now, this does not mean I like every NPR or PBS broadcast or show, but in my view they really serve a vital purpose. As publicly funded stations, they would seem to be less influenced by the mega-corporations that seem to dominate other areas of our culture. The cutting of that public funding means that stations will be forced to rely more and more on private and, sadly, corporate donations, thus eroding the independent nature that is their hallmark.

I am sure that there are many groups, and individuals, fighting to preserve public broadcasting. However, I've been particular struck by the campaign launched by They started an online petition a week ago with the goal of gathering 500,000 online signatures. They have far, far surpassed that and with your support they may break 1,000,000 by tomorrow!

That's 1,000,000 voices crying out to protect what I consider to be a vital resource! Please, if agree that public broadcasting is important, consider signing this petition now! You don't have to give any money, just lend your name to a worthy cause.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read all this. And, whether you agree with me or not, please feel free to leave me your own thoughts and comments on this issue.

UPDATE (9:52pm): This is real folks! I know there's an urban legend similar to this that's been floating around the internet for years, but this actually is happening now. The vote in the House of Representatives may occur as early as tomorrow. Just in case you don't believe me, check out this article from the New York Times and this entry on Snopes. Thanks, again!

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