I won’t repeat the many excellent arguments against government funding of news and entertainment here, but I thought I’d point out a contradiction that I have always found interesting.
One would think that “liberals” who are ostensibly in favor of free inquiry unconstrained by a coercive state would oppose state-controlled news, education, science, art, etc., on principle.
But, on the contrary, they seem to have a fanatical devotion to government funding (and, hence, control) of as large a portion of these endeavors as possible.
Strange, isn’t it?
I suspect that when they think about these things, they imagine that they will be controlled by people who agree with them about how these things should be promoted (or, perhaps, angels). Unfortunately, as many are discovering, sometimes the other side gains power and uses these tools in ways it prefers.
Of course, I agree that education, information, science, art, etc. are very important things.
To me, this makes it all the more vital to keep them free of government control rather than to surrender them to it.
UPDATE: As Boaz says in this more recent article:
If anything should be kept separate from government and politics, it’s the news and public affairs programming that informs Americans about government and its policies. When government brings us the news—with all the inevitable bias and spin—the government is putting its thumb on the scales of democracy. Journalists should not work for the government. Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize news and public-affairs programming.
NPR and PBS have wildly enthusiastic audiences. Their greatest fundraising appeal ever would be one that began “The heartless and barbaric Republican Congress has cut off our funding…” It’s time to free NPR and PBS from politicians, and time to free taxpayers from supporting ideas they don’t like.