Jim DeMint, Crazy of Just Plain Full of Shizz?
Recent addition to the Fair & Balanced FOX club, Wall Street Journal, has published an editorial by one of the most fair, most balanced senators in the history of America. Sure, Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) has publicly said that he doesn’t think openly gay teachers should be allowed to teach in public schools, but there’s no mention of that on the Wall Street Journal, so let’s pretend it doesn’t apply.
In a nutshell
Senator DeMint’s argument is that the federal government should de-fund PBS, NPR and all associated entities. I get that we need to tighten our belts, but what are his reasons? I ask because they will go straight to his motivations, almost as if by magic.
Prepare yourself for some serious double-speak, dissembly and at least a few outright lies.
“While executives at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) are raking in massive salaries…”
Okay, already a lot to chew on. Excessive salaries? No. Salaries for NPR, PBS and affiliated public broadcasting entities are far, far lower than those from for-profit companies. You can’t argue with a straight face that the head of NPR earns even half as much as his colleague at FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS or pretty much any other news outfit, and that includes Current TV.
“The so-called commercial free public airwaves have been filled with pleas for taxpayer cash.”
Right, because they can’t sell ads and the federal government won’t fully fund them… how does the senator expect them to fund their operations?
Lobbyists for America
“The Association of Public Television Stations has hired lobbyists to fight the cuts. Hundreds of taxpayer-supported TV, radio and Web outlets have partnered with an advocacy campaign to facilitate emails and phone calls to Capitol Hill for the purpose of telling members of Congress, “Public broadcasting funding is too important to eliminate!”"
Three things on this. First, lobbying is not an invention of public radio or television. Second, isn’t a phone call from a constituent the exact way you know what the real pulse of the public is? And third, are you genuinely arguing that public broadcasting is so unimportant that it can or should be eliminated?
CEO Pay and Disparity
“But if PBS can pay Ms. Kerger $632,233 in annual compensation—as reported on the 990 tax forms all nonprofits are required to file—surely it can operate without tax dollars.”
Wall Street still pays its junior analysts bonuses on the order of a million dollars, on top of their salaries… We don’t want to open that can of worms, so let’s just say agree that, while CEO pay may be disproportionately high, there is NO NETWORK executive that earns less than three-times what she does, and she coordinates more original programming, more stations and more journalists than any of her rivals.
That means she’s getting a third of the pay for twice the work, and it’s all for public broadcasting.
I could go down the line by the individuals listed by Mr. DeMint, but that would only ask too many questions he can’t (and honestly won’t even bother to) answer.
Media is wide open to all
“Today’s media landscape is a thriving one with few barriers to entry…”
As a would-be break-in media outlet working for 9-years, you’ll have to pardon me if I call bullshit on this. I have worked as a writer and editor on more than a dozen media upstarts, some of them remarkably well funded, and none of them has been able to scratch the surface, senator.
“…Americans have thousands of news, entertainment and educational programs to choose from that are available on countless television, radio and Web outlets.”
Yes. Some are liberal, many are FOX (check the news aggregators if you don’t believe me, and the remaining majority are unfunded bloggers regurgitating whatever they’ve already read, with limited original research. When the next big Democrat scandal breaks, don’t you want funded writers on the ground?
Get honest about the Budget
“Last year it got $420 million. As Congress considers ways to close the $1.6 trillion deficit, cutting funding for the CPB has even been proposed by President Obama’s bipartisan deficit reduction commission. Instead, Mr. Obama wants to increase CPB’s funding to $451 million in his latest budget.”
I’m not sure to call sour grapes or just disingenuous on this point. The TOTAL expenditure for public broadcasting, TV and Radio combined, would be .00001% for the 2012 budget year… this is how we’re going to fix the budget?
“”Sesame Street,” for example, made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales from 2003-2006.”
Why did you choose those years instead of, say, 2009 or 2010? Because it’s convenient. Because it includes highly unrepresentative years.
More importantly, what’s missing is the fact that nobody gets rich off of Elmo. All that money goes back to pro-literacy campaigns, building a rich, vibrant, free website for school teachers to share with children eager to learn while still having fun.
“Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 in compensation in 2008. With earnings like that, Big Bird doesn’t need the taxpayers to help him compete against the Nickelodeon cable channel’s Dora the Explorer.”
Are you insane? If this same CEO goes over to Nickelodeon, which he very well may at some point, he’ll earn 3-5 times as much for clearing a much lower bar. Conservatives have to admit that we can’t stifle CEO pay (that’s the mantra, right?), and likewise need to admit that this isn’t exorbitant by the standards set by the republican right, not by a mile.
DeMint Hates Citizen Funding
“Last year, for example, the Open Society Foundation, backed by liberal financier George Soros, gave NPR $1.8 million to help support the latter’s plan to hire an additional 100 reporters.”
So wait, the problem is that they should raise their own money, but the problem is that they are also raising their own money? Which is it, guy, because you can’t have it both ways.
Soros DID NOT donate the money to hire additional reporters, that’s an outright lie. The money was simply donated, and it went to general operations. PBS/NPR/CPB cut the number of reporters they employed last year, even with this generous contribution.
“When NPR receives million-dollar gifts from Mr. Soros, it is an insult to taxpayers when other organizations, such as MoveOn.org demand that Congress “save NPR and PBS” by guaranteeing “permanent funding and independence from partisan meddling,” as the liberal interest group did last month.”
How is donating money to a government sponsored public broadcasting entity anything short of patriotic? Trying to connect MoveOn.org to this isn’t just insulting, to use your word, but it’s plain crazy. If I donate millions to the FBI because I believe in security, and then another organization unrelated to me goes to congress and asks for guaranteed funding in the future for the FBI, isn’t that a good thing?
What planet have you been smoking the ganja on, Mr. Senator?
But Let’s Get Honest
If Senator Jim DeMint really wants an honest discussion from an honest media, let’s put in place the law Canada has that requires news broadcasters to be honest. That has kept the likes of FOX News and conservative radio out of Canada, because they know they’d be sued into oblivion and lose their broadcasting rights overnight for the outright lies so regularly espoused.
Challenge to Mr. DeMint
Senator DeMint, I invite you on GlossyNews for an interview to defend your comments, and I’ll send an email to your office today to request that you do as much.
You won’t come on to defend your positions, and you would never support a bill to demand honesty out of journalistic broadcasters. And why? It’s because Jim DeMint doesn’t want an honest, open discussion. That would be too damaging to his interests.