Last-minute Administration Payment Before the Shutdown: $445 Million for Friends at Public Broadcasting

Public-broadcasting fans love to proclaim that PBS and NPR are bravely “independent” of the government. But sometimes, the facts suggest a close symbiotic relationship. Terence P. Jeffrey of reports that on the first day of the government shutdown, the Daily Treasury Statement revealed no money for clinical trials for cancer, but the administration awarded $445 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Pay the publicist first!

PBS has hosted two very friendly interviews with President Obama in the last few weeks, and on Friday, their two “opposing” political pundits agreed the shutdown was a “constitutional monstrosity” and the Tea Party was a spent force.

Pseudo-Republican New York Times columnist David Brooks called the shutdown a “stupid event” and once again slashed Sen. Ted Cruz: “I think there's a widespread recognition from everybody who's not in Ted Cruz's own personal household that this was a very dumb strategy, that if you walk into a confrontation with the president, there should be some possibility of success.”

Ultraliberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne proclaimed that “one good thing could come out of this. I think the Tea Party is past its high tide. I think there is a slowly building revolt within Republican ranks against this kind of politics, which is not about governing. It's about stopping stuff.”

As usual, Brooks agreed with the socialist: “I think it's a rump that had its moment. On the other hand, it does have institutions, it has a donor base, and it has aggression. Ted Cruz, those Republicans, the Heritage Action groups, they go after other Republicans. There's an aggressiveness there that is not matched by any other part of the party. And somebody has to stand up and balance it.”

Now you can understand how PBS thinks it’s a balance. On "both sides," the taxpayer-subsidized pundits both want it stopped.

Jeffrey put the CPB payout in perspective:

The $445 million the Treasury handed over to CPB was more than the $119 million the Treasury paid on the first day of the shutdown in interest on U.S. government debt that is held by the public. It was also more than $171 million in Social Security benefits the Treasury paid that day. But it was less than the $592 million the Treasury paid for Veterans Affairs programs on the first day of the shutdown.

The $445 million the Treasury gave to CPB on the first day of the shutdown was also almost as much as the $471 million the administration gave to the entire Department of Health and Human Services that day.

PBS and its "dueling" pundits have also been bored by Obama's IRS scandal.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis