Video: Funding public broadcasting
updated 6/23/2005 5:24:44 PM ET 2005-06-23T21:24:44

With the House of Representatives debating a controversial bill that would significantly cut the funding of public television and radio across the U.S., MSNBC's Randy Meier spoke with David Boaz, an executive VP at the Kato Institute who supports the cuts and John Lawson, president of the Association of Public Television stations, about the potential cuts on Thursday.

"It's time to establish the separation of news and state," Boaz said. "It's impossible to do news without having a perspective."

Boaz added that America should revert to "private news organizations as well as arts programming television stations" to prevent politic bias in the public medium. "I think we ought to separate these things from the government."

The argument goes beyond news broadcasts, to the issue of influence in children's programming censorship. A commonly cited example of the liberal practices of public television is an episode of the hit children's show 'Postcards from Buster' in which Buster visits a friend who's parents are lesbians.

Lawson disagrees with the accusations that public television is liberally biased and points to children's shows. (Public broadcasters) have literally broadcast millions of hours of educational commercial free children's programming," he said.

"We're the last of the locally controlled independent media and that's the way the system is supposed to work" Lawson added.

Public broadcasters face a possible 45 percent cut in funds that will affect "digital format transition, satellite interconnection and the Ready To Learn Program which funds educational programming" according to Lawson.

Lawson added that the funding cuts will impact those without access to cable television because of where they live or their income level. "If we lost the federal funding, the first stations that would be impacted are those that serve underserved rural and inner-city areas," he said.

To watch the full interview between Boaz, Lawson and Meier, click on the video link above. MSNBC Live with Amy Robach and Randy Meier can be seen weekdays from 9 a.m.-Noon.

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