The presidential hopeful told Fortune magazine that he’s a fan of PBS, but that federal funding of same would get cut off during his administration.
Joining PBS in Romney’s tumbril are Amtrak, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“Some of these things, like those endowment efforts and PBS, I very much appreciate and like what they do in many cases, but I just think they have to stand on their own rather than receiving money borrowed from other countries, as our government does on their behalf,” Romney said in the interview.
In a statement of response given to The TV Column, Kerger noted that a national survey by the bipartisan research firms of Hart Research and American Viewpoint found in 2011 that more than two-thirds of American voters (69 percent) oppose proposals to eliminate government funding of public broadcasting — “with Americans across the political spectrum against such a cut,” she said.
“We understand that these are challenging times,” Kerger said.
But, she said: “Federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of 1 percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have almost no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating.”
Kerger’s had a busy few weeks making statements about various GOP plans to pull fed-funds from PBS. Less than a month before Romney’s article came out, Kerger — speaking to TV critics at Summer TV Press Tour 2012 — noted the irony of a plan put forth by House Republicans to zero out PBS fed-funds by 2015. That was the very same week that PBS nabbed 58 Primetime Emmy nominations, behind only HBO and CBS.
Critics politely took down her point without asking her why she thought PBS having been shown that much love by Hollywood would impress House Republicans.
At that time, she explained that federal funding accounts for just 15 percent of the PBS budget, but that cutting the funding would most directly hit, and likely shutter, public broadcasting stations in smaller markets, in more rural areas.
Chris Guest to HBO
Kerger’s comments about the latest proposal to kill PBS fed-funds did not make too many headlines at the time because a) she’s not Mitt Romney and b) the headlines were mostly about her explanation at the same Q&A about Fred Willard, who’d just gotten zeroed out by PBS as host of its new “Antiques Roadshow” companion program, “Market Warriors.”
Willard lost the gig after his arrest at the adult Tiki Theater in Hollywood.
Well, there’s glad tidings for Willard from HBO: The premium cable network has given a series order to Christopher Guest for one of his trademark single-camera “mockumentary” comedies.