Thoughts on Public Broadcasting

You would think that the United States, founder of the free press with press freedom definitively declared in the First Amendment of the Constitution, would be a leader in press freedom. But in comparison of public broadcasting across borders, it is clear the U.S. lags behind, both due to the dominance of corporate owned media as well as a lack of public funding for public broadcasting — an irony everyone should be concerned about. After all, if it’s primary income is not public tax dollars, can you really call it public media?

Because the government media policy has been able to curb how many tax dollars go to pubic broadcasting, public media has increasingly had to rely on the support of corporate funds. But in order to maintain this revenue stream, content has to be adjusted so as not to offend corporate elites who are also in bed with government elites. At one point then, does public media become no longer a source of information, but rather pure propaganda?

In other countries, such as the UK and several Scandinavian nations, it seems as though public media upholds a similar level of integrity that independent media outlets do in the U.S. They ask the tough questions and serve the public interest first and foremost, constantly keeping the government in check — which was exactly the purpose of establishing freedom of the press in the U.S. But we have lost site of this necessity, which has lost to the power of corporate greed that drives not only big businesses, but governments as well. As far as I’m concerned, the First Amendment has been violated. You would think politicians on both ends of the political spectrum would care about this, but it appears their loyalty to the Constitution is limited to just their rhetoric. Public broadcasting has the power to reach audiences that the currently more dignified independent outlets cannot. If our media policy could have been reformed to the extent that U.S. public media was able to live up to the same journalistic standards as at least the BBC, Iraq may have never happened, Trump may have never happened, and we’d all be a lot more satisfied with the state of our nation. It’s time for the public to realize where their money should be going and create a pressure on the government and its corporate partners that is conducive to change.

 

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