The chain email about PBS and Sesame Street being threatened by Republicans wanting to defund public broadcasting is as old as the internet, except until now it was just a goodhearted, albeit misguided hoax. Unfortunately, it's now true:
The House is threatening to eliminate all public funding for NPR and PBS, starting with "Sesame Street," "Reading Rainbow" and other commercial-free children's shows. Sign the MoveOn petition to Congress opposing these massive cuts to public broadcasting and tell your senators and representative.This move by Republicans in the House comes on the heels of reports that the Chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kenneth Tomlinson, "a former editor of Reader's Digest appointed to the board by President Bill Clinton in 2000," paid lobbyists to advance the Republican agenda at the CPB.
Corporation officials said the two lobbyists did not approach lawmakers but provided strategic advice on handling a bill last year that would have given public radio and television stations more representation on the corporation's board. The measure, which died, was opposed by the White House and Mr. Tomlinson but was supported by stations.
One of the lobbyists, Brian Darling, was paid $10,000 for his insights into Senator Conrad Burns, a Montana Republican who sponsored the provision. This year, he briefly served as a top aide to Senator Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida, but resigned after the disclosure that he had written a memorandum describing how to exploit politically the life-support case of Terri Schiavo.
Mr. Darling did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
The other lobbyist, Mark Buse, a former top aide to Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said he provided advice on the legislative process over a month and did not talk to any lawmakers. Mr. Buse, who was paid $5,000, said he was hired at the suggestion of Katherine M. Anderson, a former chairwoman of the corporation and a current board member.