March 7, 2011

Cutting federal funds for public media

As the U.S. is pouring tons of dollars to bankroll international broadcasting like the Voice of America, Sawa, RFE/RL and others, the House recently passed a bill that eliminated all financing for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for the year 2013. It prompted Secretary Hillary Clinton to make a forceful plea before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to salvage public broadcasting in the U.S. She said: "al-Jazeera is the real news--like it or not!" President of National Public Radio (NPR) made a public plea against the federal cut.
Democracy Now held an interview with Robert McChesney, professor of communication at the University of Illinois, who called Secretary Clinton "one of the most perceptive critics of American media". McChesney makes a strong case for the U.S. public diplomacy [without using this term] by saying:

"The smart thing to do is ... [to] create a really dynamic, strong, competitive public and community broadcasting system that treats the U.S. government the same way it treats other governments, the same standard of journalism, then broadcast that to the world ... [T]hat would show the United States at its very best. And that would be a voice that would have a great appeal to people around the world who are yearning for freedom and democracy and it would enhance the U.S. position in the world more than anything possible could."

Prof. McChesney spoke at length about American journalism; his interview is worth watching.

P.S. Prof. McChesney's interview starts in the middle of the video.

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