Watch Mr. Rogers Persuade Congress to Stop Cutting PBS Budget in 1969

Yesterday, the news broke that the Trump administration will apparently be slashing federal spending, to the tune of $10.5 trillion over 10 years. According to The Hill, the “departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding.” And “the Corporation for Public Broadcasting [aka PBS] would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.”

Attempts to cut funding for the arts is nothing new. Above, we take you back to 1969, when Richard Nixon planned to reduce PBS’ funding from $20 million to $10 million. That is, until Fred Rogers, the gentle creator of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, spent six short minutes before Senator John Pastore, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, and made his pitch for publicly-funded educational television. In those 360 seconds, Rogers gets the gruff senator to do a complete 180 – to end up saying “It looks like you just earned the 20 million dollars.”

It’s unlikely that Mr. Rogers could get the same traction today. Quite the contrary, his sweetness and sincerity would likely be mocked quite mercilessly, a sign of how coarse our society has become these days.

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Related Content:

Mr. Rogers Introduces Kids to Experimental Electronic Music by Bruce Haack & Esther Nelson (1968)

Mr. Rogers Takes Breakdancing Lessons from a 12-Year-Old (1985)

Mister Rogers Turns Kids On to Jazz with Help of a Young Wynton Marsalis and Other Jazz Legends (1986)


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  • Anti-Fascist says:

    Christopher Manion’s blog post on says it well:

    “Defund the Left.” That’s the timeless motto of the late Howard Phillips, founder of the Conservative Caucus who did the homework to prove that the Left would collapse without its billions of federal taxpayer funding.

    PBS is the only TV channel my cheap antenna will receive to watch the inauguration. Naturally, while Internet streaming broadcasts feature the crowds on the west side of the Capitol as the dignitaries arrive, PBS features nine blowhards with sad faces and smarmy swipes at the deplorables.

    First order of business: Defund PBS and NPR – they **never** thank the taxpayer, so apparently they don’t need our money.

    Country’ll grow.

  • Bill W. says:

    Back then, PBS/NEA was needed. There were less than five TV networks you could tune to, and you didn’t have much of a choice, especially as far as education & the arts was concerned. Today, we have hundreds of stations with all genres, the Internet, etc. Almost all of it is privately funded, but options can be easily found that duplicate or out-does what PBS and NPR offers, and with the click of a button. Defund these White Elephants, they’ve served their purpose as typewriters did at one time.

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