“I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health.” Mr. Rogers in 1969
Rogers passed away in 2003, but public media has continued to provide educational programming that remains trustworthy and popular. NPR ratings reached an all-time high last fall. A bipartisan polling team found earlier this year that 73 percent of all Americans ― including more than 60 percent of Republicans ― opposed eliminating federal funding for public television.
Nevertheless, on Thursday, President Donald Trump went even further than Nixon did in 1969. The president’s budget plan proposed pulling all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports NPR and PBS. The CPB receives about $485 million annually from the U.S. government, much less than $54 billion Trump hopes to add to the defense budget.
There would be significant consequences if such a decision went through, according to Patricia Harrison, the president and CEO of CPB.
“The elimination of federal funding to CPB would initially devastate and ultimately destroy public media’s role in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions ― all for Americans in both rural and urban communities,” she said Thursday.