Senate Votes on Future of Public Television

CauseNet for July 15, 2004

Last Tuesday at the Senate hearing on public broadcasting, Common Cause introduced 52,100 petitions into the Senate record to demonstrate widespread support for the editorial independence and long-term financial security of public television and radio.

Next week, the Senate Commerce Committee will vote to reauthorize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). We must make certain that committee members do not amend the bill in a way that would leave public broadcasting vulnerable to politicization or corporate influence.

Early next week, Common Cause is placing an ad in a widely read political daily, Roll Call ( to show our support for public broadcasting.  We need to move quickly because the vote will likely take place by next Tuesday. We need your help now so we can let our Senators on Capitol Hill know how we feel about the importance of PBS and NPR!

In an era of increased concentration of media ownership, public broadcasting is more important than ever. Ken Burns, the well known historian and film maker, testified at Tuesday's hearing to counter opponents of public broadcasting and said:

"... there are those who are sure that without public television, the so-called 'marketplace' would take care of everything; that what won't survive in the marketplace, doesn't deserve to survive.  Nothing could be further from the truth ... we are not just talking about the commerce of a nation.  We are not just economic beings, but spiritual and intellectual beings as well, and so we are talking about the creativity of a nation.  Most of the rest of the television environment has ignored this critical truth."