Public Broadcasting

Will political attacks and new technologies force big changes?


The nation's public broadcasting system is at a crossroads. Conservatives have stepped up attacks on its alleged liberal bias, politicians wary about budget deficits have been eying its federal funding and advocates of privatization say that it has been rendered obsolete by cable television. Public TV officials are reevaluating the complex community of stations and bureaucracies that was spawned by President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society of the 1960s. As they brush up against private competition in a technologically evolving marketplace, many of these officials are reorganizing and making a case that public broadcasting is more needed than ever before. They contend that amid increasing commercialization, only public broadcasting offers quality educational programming and broad community access to the public airways.

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