The Trump Budget, which will be sent to Congress on Thursday, among many things, eviscerates funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National Endowment for the Humanities and The National Endowment for the Arts (among many other things).
The general feeling among Republicans is to let the market decide. That is, if the market wants arts or music or science, the market will tell you. There is no reason, in their minds, as to why the Federal Government should support things like Public Broadcasting, even it that funding represents a mere .00006 percent of the federal budget. By killing CPB and PBS, they are making a ‘statement’.
Many years ago, I gave a speech at some broadcasting conference in the US. Among the speakers was the then head (long since gone) of A&E, the cable network. He showed a killer video of ballet, arts, music, theater, history, nature - all then A&E programs (A&E stands for Arts and Entertainment, so it seemed appropriate). He closed his speech, following the video by saying, “I don’t see the need for Public Broadcasting any longer - we do it all!”.
As I said, he no longer works there.
Today A&E provides you with Duck Dynasty, Dog, The Bounty Hunter, Live PD and Love Prison, among other things. This is not to condemn A&E. They are a for profit business. Their audience, it turns out, did not want Dance, Music, Theater or Opera. They wanted Duck Dynasty. TLC, which used to stand for The Learning Channel (note how they always replace audience negative names with letters, much in the way that Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC) used to actually air educational programs. Those days are long over. Now TLC is pretty much the Make Fun of the Obese Channel all the time. Again, that is what the market demands.
The History Channel, which used to actually air documentaries and history now airs Swamp People and Porn Stars. Goodbye Hitler, hello Counting Cars.
Quality Television need not be an oxymoron, but quality requires support. At the end of the day, you measure civilizations by the art, music and literature that they create and leave behind. Now, Mr. Trump has elected to eviscerate arts, science and humanities for his idiotic wall and yet more money for an already bloated military. That says very much about who he is.
Did you like watching Downton Abbey? You won’t find it on A&E or TLC. You only can find it on PBS. Planet Earth? Perhaps Animal Planet might have created it, but they didn’t. They chose to create My Cat From Hell. That’s the free market for you. Ken Burns Civil War? Not on The History Channel. You know what you can find there. Also, PBS. Nature? Animal Planet? Nope. PBS.
Is this a kind of cultural elitism? Maybe. Maybe it is. Or maybe a lot of people who like NASCAR also liked Downton Abbey. I think they did. Clearly Mr. Trump, who watches a LOT of TV, does not. If only he would try reading a book, or having someone read one to him. He could start with history. Maybe a history of Ancient Greece. Do you know what survives of that ancient civilization? Home. Sophocles. Herodotus. Aristotle.Hippocrates. Yeah, all those elitist arts and sciences.
Donald Trump has decided to burn Downton Abbey to the ground... along with Big Bird, Ken Burns, Planet Earth and so much more. And for what? For what?
As Trump cuts off funding for the arts, you will notice that despite his billions, there is not one museum with his name no it, not one library, not one university (at least not a real one), not one concert hall. Nothing. The man is dead inside. All he does is sit at home and watch WWF on television. He is worthless.