There's a reason liberals have taken up Big Bird as the face of public broadcasting and not, say, Bill Moyers. Mr. Bird is feathery and cuddly, while Moyers likes to compare American flag lapel pins to Mao's Little Red Book. This is how the left undermines our institutions from within: make the effort appear homey and apple pie-ish. Show Big Bird, not Big Bill.
Moyers is not alone. Many other journalists at PBS and NPR equally epitomize an aloof liberal elite that has squandered half the nation's trust in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Over at NPR there is Nina Totenberg, who once wished AIDS on the grandchildren of Sen. Jesse Helms. No, Totenberg won't be the face of the pro-public broadcasting effort, either. Elmo is being pressed into service.
I don't mean to pick on Moyers or Totenberg. They are no different from many of their brethren in other publications. For some reason—probably because liberals want to change American society, which they see as inferior, and people who want to change society tend to go into journalism—most people in the profession are liberal. In one important way, however, Moyers and Totenberg are different. Journalists at The New York Times and MSNBC must constantly strive to give their publics what they want. If they fall short, they'll get a quick reality check: Readers will buy a different paper or click somewhere else online. TV viewers will reach for their remotes.
Only PBS and NPR journalists think they're entitled to a conservative taxpayer's dime. And this is the nub of the problem. How can an institution that represents the views of only the liberal half of the population, and only grudgingly acknowledges conservatives and their principles in passing, believe it has a claim on all taxpayers?
They don't. They have abdicated their claim to my wallet by systematically denigrating the values I believe in.
Yes, the CPB says that it's impartial, that it's popular, and that taxpayer money covers a tiny percentage of their operating revenue. And that just makes my point. If they're willing to ignore widespread conservative complaints and refuse to institute changes, then they have a problem. And, yes, I agree, they can do fine without our money. Their membership strategy amounts to a fantastic business model. They will thrive on it.
We can use the $444 million they get a year.
First appeared in U.S. News & World Report's Debate Club.