CPB funding issue caught in middle of an old debate

I have not written about the effort to strip the Corporation for Public Broadcasting of its funding for a couple of reasons. First, I have an obvious interest in the outcome and I try not to write about the obvious. Two, I don’t want to be appearing to shill for the home team, although my banishment from the airwaves during pledge drives should give me more street cred on the subject than I have (I swear I was only joking when I said I’d shoot a puppy if you didn’t call now). And three, the danger is the discussion surrounding it will lead to the typical — and frankly, tiring — debate between the right and left — another political battle to be won by one side or the other. A lot of truths and facts get lost in those sorts of discussions.

But NPR and PBS picked up an ally today that may not help their cause that much.

US News’ Washington Whispers reports today that MoveOn has mobilized its considerable — and liberal — members against the zeroing out of the CPB’s funding.

It may well have become an ideological battle anyway, but the opportunity to go head-to-head with MoveOn is the stuff some politicians use to fill the campaign war chests.

Somewhat lost in that usual skirmish is a national dialogue about why the United States created public broadcasting in the first place, whether the U.S. still has an interest in how its people are informed, and whether it makes budgetary sense in 2011. Maybe the answer is yes, maybe the answer is no but it’s only going to be answered with calmer and quieter voices that usually get shouted down when the far left and far right do their thing.

Fred Rogers’ testimony before Congress decades ago about the need for two men to work out their differences could’ve been an apt metaphor in the debate.

I’ll leave the comments area open. Prove me wrong.