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Open Mike

Lots of support for public broadcasting

Editor: After participating in a very positive hearing in which members from both sides of the aisle expressed their support for public broadcasting, I was disappointed to read your online coverage of the event ("Sparks fly at PBS hearing," July 11).

Although it is true that an NPR story mentioning the Traditional Values Coalition was singled out for criticism, the hearing focused on broader issues. Members were all but unanimous on the need for federal support for public broadcasting's transition to digital, for example, and there was strong bipartisan support for reauthorization. Even Joe Barton (R-Texas), who described himself as a "skeptic" about public broadcasting, said that there was a need for assistance with the digital transition.

Lee Terry (R-Neb.) expressed his pride in Nebraska Public Television's involvement in Reading Rainbow.
John Shimkus (R-Ill.), visibly moved by stories about public broadcasting's role on Sept. 11, talked about the importance of "free, over-the-air TV, which I support."

Karen McCarthy (D-Mo.) described seeking out public radio and television as she traveled, because, as she said, "I'd be lost without it."

Barbara Cubin (R-Wy.) said, "I don't have one negative thing to say about Wyoming Public Television."

Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) called public broadcasting "one of the jewels in the crown" of America.

Perhaps the person who grasped the tone of the hearing best was Charlie Bass (R-N.H.). "Everyone has their own opinions about whether public broadcasting is fair one way or another," he said. "But this hearing should focus on process, not content."

Your article would have been more informative if your reporter had done the same.

—Robert T. Coonrod, president and CEO, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Washington, D.C.

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