By Tim Graham ~
Washington Post culture blogger Alyssa Rosenberg offered a strange liberal argument on Thursday: “If Trump really wants to unify American culture, he should fund public broadcasting.” What a bad joke. To liberals, PBS and NPR unify the country. This is only true if you have no concern whatsoever for the long history of PBS and NPR abusing conservatives.
We’ve already reminded our readers that public broadcasting often viciously denounces conservatives, discussing their “satanic” tones, for example. This insult comes from people who are alleged to represent Republicans or conservatives on their “news” hours. Where is the Firing Line show with a conservative host on PBS? Conservatives have no place.
Rosenberg argued the Trump White House is providing ample proof of their “incompetence and unseriousness” through “eliminating all federal funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a move that would make it more difficult to actually build anything resembling a unified national culture.” These institutions are not pushing unity. They push “progressive” indoctrination, so the only “unity” being sought is a rigid leftist orthdoxy.
Rosenberg announced how she differed from discussing national unity from Trump strategist Steve Bannon:
I’m not motivated by racist fantasies about immigration, nor am I particularly worried about the health of Western civilization. And though I think it takes care and thought to balance the needs of people of many faiths and those with none, I don’t think that some sort of vague Judeo-Christian revival will save America nor do I see it as desirable.
But I care deeply about cultural literacy, the idea that we should all have access to a shared set of core concepts that will not only make it easier for children to learn to read and write, but that will give Americans at least some common language and ideas we can use to understand each other across our differences.
Rosenberg theorized that while public schools may create a national culture, networks like PBS continue that “education” in the adult years. She quoted promotional boilerplate from PBS star Ken Burns, that “PBS supplements the schedules of hundreds of other channels. It produces ‘classrooms of the air’ that help stitch together statewide educational activities and helps create cradle-to-grave continuing education services that are particularly appreciated in rural states.”
In Rosenberg’s mind, PBS is somehow the gold standard for quality programming that persuades people across the political spectrum.” What evidence would she cite that PBS is winning over conservatives in their “education”? Is PBS “winning” with President Trump and GOP majorities in the House and Senate who could choose to defund them? Or she could consider this: PBS never meant to reach conservatives. They are a taxpayer-subsidized sandbox for liberals, producing content designed to please liberals and primarily watched by liberals.
Rosenberg ended her lecture this way: the lowest road was Breitbart “catering to conservatives who wanted to hear the worst about anyone even remotely associated with the Obama administration.”
But if you want to create a genuine national culture, you actually have to reach all Americans, rather than losing yourself in idiotic and racist delusions about defeating “bad hombres” by force or outbreeding the competition. And you have to create compelling, high-quality content that can persuade Americans across the political spectrum, rather than mediocre trash that preys on audiences who feel under-served by mainstream media. The Trump administration shows no rhetorical sign that it understands this — or that the public broadcasting system and other federal arts and humanities institutions could have value to conservatives who want to try to meet their high standards.
Earth to Alyssa: if you engage the other side of the debate as having “idiotic and racist delusions,” then perhaps your goal isn’t unifying the country at all, is it? If audiences feel “underserved by mainstream media,” might they have a point? Or are they idiots whose evidence you don’t have to confront?
It sounds as sincere as PBS. It’s PR rubbish you put in a pamphlet and hope the people donating to PBS believe it. If you can’t tolerate anyone speaking the worst about Barack Obama, as your side compares Trump to Hitler hour on the hour, who are the people who can’t stand an opposing point of view?