Paula Kerger: PBS head fights off Romney attack, says network shouldn’t take ads

PBS president Paula Kerger addressed journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday.

While stumping for votes recently, presidential candidate Mitt Romney called for an end to federal funding for PBS, suggesting that commercials air during “Sesame Street” and support the content instead. “I like PBS,” he said. “We’re not going to kill Big Bird, but Big Bird’s going to have advertisements, all right?”

PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger addressed Romney’s remarks when she met with journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. on Wednesday — after touting the network’s recent successes and increased viewership thanks to programs like “Downton Abbey.” “I’m glad that [Romney] said that he likes public broadcasting,” she began. “What we hope to do is to make it clear that we have broad support from the American public.”

Kerger, who acknowledged difficult decisions will have to be made during tough economic times, said PBS “has always had bipartisan support,” thanks in large part to an “effective public/private partnership.” In aggregate, the government funds only 15 percent of the PBS budget — “that’s $1.35 per person per year,” she said. But that percentage is vital to making public broadcasting available to smaller, more rural stations. “Public broadcasting provides an important source of information for many communities,” Kerger said. “That money can not be made up.”

As for Romney’s suggestion of introducing advertisements into PBS programming, Kerger made one critical point: “We have restrictions through the FCC. We can’t just take ads.” But even if running ads didn’t violate regulations, turning PBS into a commercial broadcaster would fundamentally change programming, as the network would be forced to woo ad dollars. Some in government have suggested the network take cues from successful, educational commercial networks like History.

“Congress has said maybe you can learn from this, but ‘Pawn Stars’ and ‘American Pickers’ is not the same as ‘American Experience’ and Ken Burns,” Kerger said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…