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Local Lawmakers ♥ Public Broadcasting, But Not Like the Brits

A High-Tech TV Detector Van (BBC)

All five members of San Diego's congressional delegation have voted to protect federal funding for public broadcasting. President Bush tried to kill a $420 million subsidy for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting . But Republicans Duncan Hunter, Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray, as well as Democrats Susan Davis and Bob Filner, joined an overwhelming House majority and killed that idea. (So why is it so hard to get them on the air?)

House rejects Bush plan to eliminate public broadcasting subsidies

The 357-72 vote demonstrated the enduring political strength of public broadcasting. The outcome was never in doubt, unlike a fight two years ago when Republicans tried but failed to slash public broadcasting subsidies.


"It is providing a voice for America, a noncommercial, independent voice that is sadly lacking. It isn't available any place else in the million channels on our cable networks," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon.
And so public broadcasting is saved again. Every year, the government threatens to tear us down, and every year, we squeak by. It's hard enough to survive on donations, especially in an era when newsrooms are getting axed in favor of other programming. (At KPBS, government subsidies make up some 14.5 percent of the budget, donations nearly 40 percent.)

Back in June, I visited the BBC in London and salivated. There, the government doesn't just protect public broadcasting — everyone with a TV is forced to pay for public broadcasting. And people go along with it. To sniff out the deadbeats, police are said to patrol the streets in high-tech detector vans . (Many Brits think this is a conspiracy.) The fine for freeloading is something like ?1,000, or about $2,000.


And you thought our pledge drives were annoying.

Angela Carone
July 19, 2007 at 06:32 PM
I can't believe they have detector vans! That's hilarious. -----