The presidential campaigns continue to duel over Mitt Romney’s pledge to gut the funding future of public broadcasting. Today, Mitt Romney responded to the Obama campaign’s new “Big Bird” ad by once again missing the point regarding public broadcasting’s economic benefits to the nation.
While campaigning today, Romney said in response to the Obama ad, “You have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird…I actually think we need to have a president who talks about saving the American people and saving good jobs.”
“Well, Mr. Romney, federal funding of public broadcasting directly supports 21,000 good American jobs in over 1,300 local radio and television stations across the nation,” said George Kohl, Senior Director at the Communications Workers of America (CWA). “A candidate touting job creation and economic growth as his top priorities, as Mr. Romney does, should recognize the tremendous positive contribution of public broadcasting on both topics.”
As CWA pointed out last week, federal investment in public broadcasting is the epitome of a successful public/private partnership – the federal investment in public broadcasting acts as seed money for local stations, which leverage every $1 of federal investment to raise over $6. All together, federal funding for public broadcasting contributes more than $1 billion to the national economy, for less than $1.40 per American.
CWA, which represents approximately 1,000 public broadcasting employees across the nation, below provides a look at the key numbers demonstrating the economic and jobs benefits related to the popular federal investment in public broadcasting.
- 21,000: This is the number of jobs that public broadcasting directly supports – jobs that would be at risk if Romney followed through on his threat to de-fund public broadcasting.
- 1,300: These 21,000 jobs are dispersed throughout 1,300 local radio and television stations across the nation.
- More than $1 Billion: In addition to its harder-to-quantify, but beneficial impact on children’s educational advancement, federal funding for public broadcasting generates a substantial bang for its taxpayer buck, contributing more than $1 billion to the national economy at a cost of just $1.39 per American.
- 6:1: Federal investment in public broadcasting acts as seed money for local stations, which leverage every $1 of federal investment to raise over $6 – the epitome of a successful public/private partnership.
- 69%: A February 2011 poll by Hart Research/American Viewpoint found that 69% of American voters across the political spectrum (83% of Democrats, 69% of Independents, and 56% of Republicans) opposed eliminating funding for public broadcasting.
- Zero: A 2007 GAO report concluded that another source of funds does not exist to fill the void that would be left if federal funding for public broadcasting were reduced or eliminated.