Why conservatives have a problem with public radio and television: New Mexico edition

Every once in awhile, Congressional Republicans try to cut funding for Public Broadcast Service (PBS)  and National Public Radio (NPR). While I believe that such efforts are justified, to date, supporters of these government-sponsored broadcast networks have managed to keep federal funds flowing. The total, $445 million annually, is small within the scope of the federal budget, but it’s hard to argue that the government should own media outlets or that popular shows like Downton Abbey or Sesame Street wouldn’t survive without federal funding.

So, why am I bringing this up now? Because I received an email detailing “An Evening with Amy Goodman Host and Executive Producer of Democracy Now.”  The email goes on to note that “Proceeds from an “Evening with Amy Goodman” to benefit KNME, KUNM, and KSFR.” These are Albuquerque’s PBS station, NPR station, and Santa Fe’s NPR station respectively.

It is one thing for a donor-funded think tank like the Rio Grande Foundation to host Rush Limbaugh or for New Mexico Voices for Children to host Ms. Goodman, but it is quite another thing for taxpayer-financed “public” stations like these to benefit financially from hosting an appearance by such a hard-line “progressive” (even socialist) ideologue.

The fact that taxpayer dollars are being commingled with funds raised by Amy Goodman should be enough to give even politically-moderate New Mexicans heartburn and make them wish that these television and radio stations eliminated government funds from their budgets.