Ironies abound as the only network that will be carrying Ann Romney’s convention speech is that the same broadcast network that her husband has promised to kill (PBS).
The New York Times reported that the Romney campaign is angry with the television networks for deciding not to air Ann Romney’s convention speech. Ironically, there is one network that will air his wife’s speech live.
According to TVNewser, “PBS-which has the benefit of being a not-for-profit TV network-will offer substantially more primetime coverage than any other broadcaster, with coverage running each night of the conventions from8-11PM. During the coverage there will be a number of segments featuring analysis, commentary and interviews, including contributors David Brooks and Mark Shields, analysis from “NewsHour” political editor Christina Bellantoni, and reports from the convention floors.”
This would be the same PBS that Mitt Romney wants to eliminate government funding for. It is a week to the day since Romney promised that if he is elected, he will cut all federal funding for PBS, “There are three major areas I have focused on for reduction in spending. These are in many cases reductions which become larger and larger over time. So first there are programs I would eliminate. Obamacare being one of them but also various subsidy programs — the Amtrak subsidy, the PBS subsidy, the subsidy for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities. Some of these things, like those endowment efforts and PBS I very much appreciate and like what they do in many cases, but I just think they have to strand (sic) on their own rather than receiving money borrowed from other countries, as our government does on their behalf.”
Romney wants to eliminate public funding for PBS despite the fact that public funding is the reason why public television will be the only broadcast network to televise Ann Romney’s convention speech. Because PBS doesn’t rely on advertiser dollars, they can afford to put news and quality programming first.
A privatized PBS would have made the same decision that the other networks made. Broadcast networks make a ton of money off of summer reruns. There are no production costs associated with repeat episodes, so the ad revenue generated is straight profit. The networks would be taking a financial loss on that hour if they showed Ann Romney’s convention speech.
For a businessman, Mitt Romney doesn’t understand much about business. PBS is a public service. They aren’t bound by the private sector profit motive, which is exactly what allows them to provide three times more coverage of the political conventions than the other broadcast networks.
PBS and Ann Romney’s speech is the perfect example of why government can’t be run like a business. A business doesn’t serve the public interest in the way that government can.
Don’t expect Mitt Romney to grasp this concept anytime soon, but feel free to enjoy the delicious irony that the only broadcast network willing to air his wife’s convention speech is the one that he has pledged to destroy.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association