Recently, Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Col., has suggested cutting federal funding for public broadcasting in an attempt to lower the national debt. We believe such a suggestion has no merit because public broadcasting is an important institution that provides public interest journalism for citizens.
Lamborn disagrees, having claimed that public radio "is no longer relevant." In fact, public broadcasting, with its unique role, is as relevant as ever.
For-profit media companies are forced to compete with news from the Internet, citizen journalists and bloggers. As media companies have cut cost, the quality of journalism has suffered greatly. To gain consumers, media companies often tend to pander to the two ends of the spectrum, leading to highly biased and polarized journalism. Under such conditions, public radio and public television are alternative sources for fair and balanced news coverage, analysis and opinion.
Thomas Jefferson said, "The basis of government, is the opinion of the people," not the other way. The future of society is often reflected in the quality of its media. Good public interest journalism, particularly investigative journalism, is what makes democracy function and realize its full potential. Since bad media leads to bad government, the institutions of public radio and public television ought to be saved rather than slashed.