Public Broadcasting Can Afford to Go Private

And it's time the broadcasters did just that, writes Sen. Jim DeMint

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 4, 2011 1:48 PM CST

(Newser) – Republican Sen. Jim DeMint has one simple reason why public broadcasting should go private: Because the presidents of such broadcasting companies "are making more than the president of the United States"—and if PBS can afford to pay its president $632,233 per year, "surely it can operate without tax dollars." PBS's president is hardly the only example: The president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting made $369,514 in 2009, and the president emeritus of NPR raked in more than $1.2 million in compensation that same year, DeMint writes in the Wall Street Journal.

And, as government funding for public broadcasting has increased over the years, public broadcasters are also bringing in millions on their own: Sesame Street made more than $211 million in sales between 2003 and 2006, and George Soros gave NPR $1.8 million last year. That's why "it is an insult to taxpayers when other organizations ... demand that Congress 'save NPR and PBS' by guaranteeing 'permanent funding and independence from partisan meddling,'" DeMint writes. "The best way to stop the 'partisan meddling' in public broadcasting ... is by ending the taxpayers' obligation to pay for it."

NPR should go private, writes Jim DeMint.
NPR should go private, writes Jim DeMint.   (©Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)
National Public Radio's Carl Kasell steps into broadcast studio 2C before delivering one of his last newscasts during the Morning Edition program.
National Public Radio's Carl Kasell steps into broadcast studio 2C before delivering one of his last newscasts during the Morning Edition program.   (Getty Images)
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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 Nickleodeon cable channel's Dora the Explorer.
- Jim DeMint

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