In what is a familiar sight during budget threats to noncommercial broadcasting funding, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) will be joined by Democratic colleagues and people dressed up as characters from iconic noncom shows (think Big Bird and Dora) for a protest Wednesday of threatened Republican cuts.
An even half-dozen Dems are scheduled to appear Wednesday at a press conference at which they will announce their strategy for countering efforts by Republicans to zero out funding for CPB in the continuing resolution bill that will keep the government funded until an actual appropriations bill is passed. That effort, according to Markey's office, will include a Democratic amendment to the bill to reinstate the funding.
Noncommercial funding is regularly targeted by Republicans for scaling back or phasing out, given what many see as a liberal political bias that constitutes government funding of their political opposition.
In the wake of NPR's firing of commentator Juan Williams, powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said the move had pulled back the thin veil from NPR's political bias.
The issue was a hot-button one several years ago after CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson prompted a firestorm of criticism by pushing for more conservative programming to balance the liberal bias he saw in some noncommercial shows.
Tuesday the Association of Public Television Stations and NPR joined together to create the Public Media Association, presenting a united TV and radio front to battle budget cuts.
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