David Brooks’ case for government funding for public broadcasting: ‘To assimilate people’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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What would American culture be without “PBS Newshour,” “Antiques Roadshow,” and “This Old House?” Forget about “American Idol,” Justin Bieber or the Major League Baseball because according to New York Times columnist and PBS contributor David Brooks a common culture might not be possible without the essential ingredients of public broadcasting.

In the wake of an indicting undercover video showing a now-former NPR executive making the case his company could survive without federal funding, Brooks appeared on Sunday’s “The Chris Matthews Show” and made the argument as to why the government should fund public broadcasting. His argument: To assimilate people.

“Here’s the case: You know we have a common culture,” Brooks said. “If we’re going to assimilate people, if we’re going to be one nation – it helps to have a common culture. There’s some things that do join us. And government has some role in help creating those things, in funding the things that join us.”

Brooks likened public broadcasting to the Smithsonian and said it was worth the small amount of money from the U.S. Treasury.

“The Smithsonian museums do some of that,” he continued. “I think public broadcasting with shows like ‘The American Experience,’ they give us all something to clue into our history. They join us as a people. They assimilate immigrants and it’s worth a very small amount, and you should see my paychecks – a very small amount that we pay to this.”

How much is that “very small amount?” It’s approximately $1.35 from each taxpayer, each year.