Magazine article Insight on the News

GOP Elite Republican Guards Must Sustain the PBS Fight

Magazine article Insight on the News

GOP Elite Republican Guards Must Sustain the PBS Fight

Article excerpt

An editor friend who was brought up in the old ways of the journalism trade often snarls -- after a Young reporter turns down an assignment, say, because his wife has detailed him to take the cat to the vet -- "What country did these people grow up in!"

The answer: a country very different from the one that has evolved on these shores in the past four decades. The current society may or may not be better, but it is dizzyingly different.

Take, for instance, a startling example from Quantico, va. The Marine Corps is fretting because women drop out of officer-training Programs at double the rate of men. The brass -- who had better pay attention to the racial, ethnic and gender quotas if they know what's good for their careers -- find that some women candidates have qualms about killing.

One candidate told a reporter that "There's a lot of good stuff" in the Marine Corps training program, "but at the same time the purpose is war. It's a shame such a great organization has such a low purpose."

In what country did that child grow up? And what Prompted her to join the most bare-knuckled of the armed forces?

She was counseled by a chaplain that there is a difference between murder and killing in defense of country. It is doubtful, though, one might suppose, that this Marine officer candidate can reach the edge of motivation to want to close with the enemy and destroy him -- which used to be the premise of our fighting forces.

A country that believes women routinely should serve in combat -- which seems the clear trend -- has got to be more "disjoint and out of frame" than Hamlet's Denmark.

Could it be that this young woman and some of her peers have not watched enough public television? The passionate supporters for continued tax subsidy of public broadcasting never tire of asserting that the institution is a tool to educate the citizenry, particularly the young.

Even with so marvelous a mission, not superbly fulfilled, judging from the Quantico vignette, public television and radio ought to be "zeroed out" of the federal budget, as House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his pals are urging. If there was a justification for public broadcasting 30 years ago, it no longer exists in the media Proliferation.

But the Republicans trying to get Barney off the public teat and boot Big Bird out of the nest are likely to lose. Public television and radio have become such icons that even Americans who consider themselves more-or-less conservative incline to support them. Strange but true, especially when one notices how assiduously the Public Broadcasting Service has begun to try to "popularize" its menu with tired programming that first ran on commercial television. …

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