Say what you will about the leftist preferences of the mainstream media, the owners of the nation’s largest newspapers and TV stations are still American capitalists when you get down to the bottom line. Their rabid opposition to Donald Trump certainly has a lot to do with their obvious infatuation with the Democratic Party…but it has just as much to do with the ratings and subscriptions the Trump Saga has brought them at a time when they were scraping to survive in a digital and diversified media landscape.
And while you may not have guessed it during the Obama administration, the mainstream media has at least proven that they are in no way beholden to carry water for the White House. They may be ideologically predictable, but they are, if nothing else, independent from the U.S. government.
The same cannot be said for PBS and NPR, both of which would be defunded under President Trump’s proposed budget. These outlets are even further to the left than the usual mainstream media suspects, and they, too, are “independent” in that they are not blatant mouthpieces for the federal government. They are not the U.S. equivalent of Sputnik News, by any account.
But while we don’t have any serious doubts about the journalistic independence of these publicly-funded news organizations, we have a big problem with their political bias. It’s one thing to accept the liberal bias of the New York Times or CNN, because what else can you do BUT accept it? The First Amendment gives them the right to publish whatever crap they want, within reasonable limits. If people are buying it, they’re buying it. As harmful as the media has been to our politics and culture, nothing an editorial staff can write would be worse for America than infringing on their freedom to write it.
But it would be a much different story if we, the taxpayers, were subsidizing the New York Times and CNN. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says we, the people, must pay the press to publish stuff we disagree with, is there?
Defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been a wish-list scenario for conservatives for many years, and there’s never been a better time to make it happen. The popular properties – your Sesame Streets and your Masterpiece Theatres and your NOVAs – will survive just fine in the free market. The unpopular ones will not. And that’s fine. Between the internet, streaming services, and cable packages with hundreds if not thousands of options, there is plenty of media out there to serve every household.
And if there isn’t, that’s fine too. Contrary to what Democrats believe, a human child can actually grow into a thriving, capable adult without ever watching a single episode of Bob the Builder. And if they can’t – if the primal need for PBS programming is that strong – then you can bet that some company or billionaire out there will fill it. We’ll wager $400 million on it.