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Prof. Kevin Howley Offers 5 Reasons to Support Public Broadcasting

February 20, 2011

5690February 20, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — According to Kevin Howley, associate professor of communication at DePauw University, "our media landscape would be greatly diminished without NPR and PBS." Dr. Howley uses his Bloomington Alternative column to make a case for why the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which oversees the two networks) should not have its federal funding ended, as some lawmakers are proposing.

The professor notes, "This column frequently critiques the practice and performance of U.S. public broadcasting. And with good reason. Neither NPR nor PBS comes close to realizing its potential to broadcast in the public interest. All too often, U.S. public media act as 'stenographers to power' rather than adhere to the principles of good journalism: independence, inquiry and verification ... Furthermore, both NPR and PBS are guilty of uncritically repeating the pronouncements of investment bankers and politicians who are eager to shift the blame for the economic meltdown from the corporate fat cats and complicit federal regulators onto hardworking public sector employees. For millions of Americans who are unemployed, who cannot afford decent health care or whose homes have been foreclosed, second-rate reporting like this only adds insult to injury. In short, U.S. public broadcasting’s adherence to Washington-Wall Street consensus can be maddening."

Howley goes on to offer five reasons why public broadcasting deserves federal support.  For starters, "With 90944the exception of CBS' long-running 60 Minutes, these days corporate media’s idea of investigative journalism begins and ends with sting operations like Dateline: To Catch a Predator. Cheap to produce and well-suited for endless cross-promotions, these 'investigative reports' may be good for the bottom line, but they sure don't serve the public interest. Despite PBS' reluctance to find suitable replacements for Now and Bill Moyers Journal, public television still has some 'street cred' when it comes to public affairs and investigative journalism."

Read the complete column by clicking here.

Kevin Howley is the editor of the textbook, Understanding Community Media and authored Community Media: People, Places, and Communication Technologies.

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