Monday, April 19, 2010

Governor Takes Aim at PBS, Public Radio

It appears that Governor Bob McDonnell, a wolf in sheep's clothing if ever there was one, has now turned his gun sights on Public Radio and Public Television in an effort to end state funding to them within four years. A story to that effect is here in the Lynchburg News & Advance.

The far, far right in Virginia--of which this graduate of Pat Robertson's Regent University is a key member--has been after what it considers these "liberal" icons for many years and it just may be able to nail them under a governor who shares their hatred of public broadcasting (and loves the 700 Club).

Here's a warning note from Steven Greico of Blue Ridge Public Television in Roanoke:

Public broadcasting officials in Virginia are expressing deep concern over Governor Bob McDonnell’s proposed budget amendments to phase out all state funding for public television and radio over the next four years, beginning July 1, 2010.

“It is important to note that these reductions would be on top of the 15 percent cut already imposed in the budget bill recently passed by the Virginia General Assembly,” said James Baum, president and CEO of Blue Ridge PBS. “In fact, since 2000 the state’s funding for public broadcasting in Virginia has been reduced by over 40 percent. While Blue Ridge PBS has maintained services to our audiences during the period, the proposed cuts we now face are of a different magnitude.”

In the coming two-year budget cycle, Virginia public television stations would lose over $2.2 million in state funding that provides on-air and on-line instructional programming, as requested and used by teachers in the classroom all over the Commonwealth. All funding would be terminated in the subsequent two years.

The governor’s amendments would also implement a four-year phase-out of all state funding to support public broadcasting’s programming in the arts, cultural matters and public affairs. Statewide, the reduced funding in this category totals $592,835 beginning in 2011, with total elimination scheduled over the following two years.

The Virginia General Assembly will vote on the governor’s amendments during the scheduled re-convene session on Wednesday, April 21.

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