The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Give SDPB some money.

The image comes to mind of a pack of slavering dogs. Miraculous self-rescues have been a staple of bad movies: Toss a pound of steak (multiplied by the number of dogs) to the hounds. Walk past them to the bus-stop. If meat’s not readily available, you’re probably dogfood in the plot.

Substitute broadcast news personalities for drooling conscienceless dogs. Toss them meaty bones. They will fight over the bones while you walk off with the saffron. I think that the dogfight is generally what news orgs cover, not the saffron theft.

Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ed Schultz, Katie Couric, et. al.; they have all staged events to support their desire to present a particular political agendum or agendae. You can watch and listen to them and a few too many aspirants to their notoriety free of charge on radio and tv, all day and night.

My principle news source is Public Broadcasting. My radios are tuned to a Public Radio station whenever there’s a news or entertainment show on (I’m not into opera and classical music). It’s also free, unless you donate, except for the .000007% of your taxes that are diverted to the federal and state collective subsidization of public media.

When I can’t get a Public Radio program I like, I’m reduced to the chance of catching a a good country song on a “classic country” station or jaded rock ‘n’ roll on a “classics” station or something that might catch my worn-out ear on a contemporary pop station. Or listen to some entertainer wooing audiences with political bullshit. Or discussions on championship viability (the fattening guys bulging through their pinstripes shouting their disagreement with the former getting-fat guy’s opinion that Hoopy Hoopmaker of the Hooptown Hoopers is not showing the ‘heart’ he used to show) on sports radio and tv.

Public Media (all broadcast or print media that get a government subsidy) do a pretty good job, in my opinion, of providing a general picture of what’s going on in the world. I think that the “conservative” movement to abolish “public” (any funding from tax extractions from you and me) funding of public media is largely based in the fact that relatively unbiased reporting strips most “conservatives” of their small-government arguments.

On the other hand, public media reporters and commentators are, at least on the national level, opposed to a logical interpretation of the Second Amendment. They--local and national--do overwhelmingly endorse the income tax, producing a number of shows around this time of year designed to make you realize that resistance is futile.

Over the past thirty or so years I’ve been a fan of the publicly-supported media to which I’ve had access. I’ve listened as South Dakota Public Radio went from a whole bunch of classical music every day to mostly news and commentary. I get a national PBS feed on my satellite tv; I haven’t seen SDPTV in 20-some years.

Lately, during times of the day when I don’t want to listen to what’s available on the radio, I tune to an archived show produced by Nick Spitzer; American Routes. Since 1998, once a week Spitzer has put together two hours of American music and commentary. It’s a great show. There are about 1300 hours of this show archived in an easy-to-use archive-selection menu.

I urge you to give SD Public Broadcasting a few bucks. I shudder to think of the state of broadcast journalism without public media. I do not advocate use of public money for the benefit of an information and entertainment venue. But public media have demonstrated their value to me. Public media are worthy of your support. If they get enough of it, they may not need the tax money. I'm advocating that you vote with your dollars. Like maybe 50 of 'em.

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