Sunday, May 22, 2005

Dump PBS

Ken Burns you arrogant ass.

You are the epitome of an elitist snob.

But you do want our money, don't you?

You see, Ken Burns, oh he of "The Civil War" fame, doesn't think much of the programming on commercial cable channels such as the History Channel or Discovery PBS executives have noted, Discovery's lineup is dominated by shows such as "American Chopper," a weekly behind-the-scenes look at a custom motorcycle shop in New York, and "Pop Nation," an eight-part series on Barbie dolls, "Star Wars" action figures and other collectibles.

Similarly, Mr. Burns dismisses the History Channel documentaries as lacking "depth and dimension."

"I Tivo it, and a lot of it is superficial," he said.
I 'm so sorry it's not good enough for you. If I ever watched anything on that channel I swear I'll never do it again as long as a penny of taxpayer money goes to them. And dear Mr Burns can forget about my watching any more of his programming.

The fact that his English is defective is something else I'll not get into here ("Tivo it" ? Um, "Tivo" is a noun, Ken, not a verb. I hate when people do that). Anyway.

So yes the above story in this morning's Washington Times got my blood boiling. I cannot stand people like Burns who are are just oh-so-holier than thou about using taxpayer money for their oh-so-sophisticated shows. If you're so damn good, Ken, go on the road and round up people to pay for it yourself. If it's so good people will fork out money for it. If not, well what does that tell you?

The Bogus Rural Argument

Then of course the pro-PBS folks give us the "rural" argument:
PBS is critical to rural areas where poorer people can't afford cable, said Marie Antoon, executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, which operates a TV station that carries PBS programming.
"I know it sounds simplistic to someone who lives in Washington, but we don't have a lot of museums in this state. A show like 'Live From Lincoln Center' is like a window out to the world for us," she said.
Ok, let me say the obvious: If you don't like living without museums and "quality programming", move. Guess what? There are tradeoffs to living in the country. You sacrifice lots of things like easy access to lots of shopping malls. No one is forcing you to live where you do. You have no right to expect me to subsidize your decision to live in Mississippi.

Pretty Good Graphs

Of course, you can only see them if you're looking at a hard copy of the newspaper as I am. So go to the Washington Times website and subscribe to their weekly edition. It's the first thing I'll do if I move out of the area.

Bottom line to the graphs; of their total revinue of $517.4 million, $80.2 (15%) is taxpayer money. According to the PBS website, for 2004 24% of their revinue is from the taxpayers (wher they also report a total budget of $333 mill) . The discrepancy seems to come from something in the Times pie chart called "Program Underwriting" which comes in at $184.3 mill. If anyone knows about this please enlighten me).

But ultimately, of course, if one dime goes to PBS it's too much. And not because Ken Burns is such a snob, but because the government (read taxpayers) has no business subsidizing a television channel in this day and age. And that's the case no matter where you live.