The US House of Representatives voted 284-140 yesterday to reject a proposed $100 million cut to federal funding for public television and radio stations, with 80 Republicans voting against the cut. However, a $100 million cut to separate public broadcasting programs, including the very popular PBS children’s shows, was left intact in the bill, according to the Washington Post. Representatives were reportedly inundated by phone calls and e-mails from constituents, according to Democracy NOW. The Feminist Majority was among a number of progressive organizations mobilizing constituents to demand that that the funding be restored.
On the same day as this important win for public broadcasting, CPB announced the appointment of a Patricia de Stacey Harrison as president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Harrison, a former co-chair of the Republication National Committee and appointee of President Bush to assistant secretary of state, has no experience in public broadcasting, reports the Associated Press. Her appointment comes in the midst of an investigation by the CPB inspector general into the conduct of the board and its chairman, Kenneth Tomlinson, who has made allegations of liberal bias in public broadcasting a cornerstone of his tenure. Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles) told the LA Times that Harrison’s appointment “smells to high heaven of secrecy and partisanship.” Further, “[s]uch an outrageous choice of CPB president demands an immediate investigation into the search and selection process.”