Ed Driscoll

Ten Years Gone

Betsy Newmark wonders why PBS is still receiving taxpayer funding:

I still fail to see why we need the government to subsidize TV when so many people have access to cable and when shows like Sesame Street and Masterpiece Theater could certainly find a home somewhere and be supported by advertising revenue.

I remember ten years ago when Republicans initially took over the House, these same statements from many new GOP lawmakers. And yet, PBS is still there and still being taxpayer funded, despite the fact that, as Betsy says, the best of PBS would easily wind up being produced on cable.

Heck, it’s there already, as I see reruns of Sesame Street, This Old House, Poirot (the short, eccentric Belgian detective, not the short eccentric Texan who was against NAFTA), Monty Python and other original and PBS-imported shows that PBS ran into the ground, every time I click through my DirecTV onscreen guide.

Meanwhile, Hugh Hewitt, who is a former veteran PBS producer, has some thoughts on the network’s woes:

The biggest problem is that PBS is indifferent to market forces, which allows everything to grow old and stale, for indifference to audience, and snail’s pace programming innovation. It is your grandfather’s network, and soon it will be your children’s great-grandfather’s network. Contrast any program on PBS with MSNBC’s new Connected Coast to Coast, on which I appeared yesterday, and you’ll see in an eye blink why PBS sheds viewers every day. MSNBC is trying to capture the energy of the new media and the news news cycle. PBS just slumbers on, confident that the claim that some folks in rural America don’t have cable will forever protect it from reality.

it’s worked so far, just as a similar strategy has kept Amtrak taxpayer funded.