Our state economy is in the tank, like pretty much everyone else's, which means that the state government's in financial trouble. Our Governor (with the nickname that people love to hate on) proposed a series of spending cuts and other measures to help us limp through, including phasing out some state agencies and programs. One target for phasing out is Idaho Public Television, and proposing this apparently ranks up there with atrocities like smearing tomato sauce on the Mona Lisa. From all the hue and cry I've read about this, you'd think that most of the state watches IPTV at least 50% of the time--and I don't need to consult Neilsen results to know that's not the case.*
Adam Graham, over at the Idaho Press Tribune's blog "Give Me Liberty," outlined eight talking points defending Otter's proposal, which pretty much makes the case. I'd quibble over the order he gives them, his number 7, should be number 1.
It is no more the job of the government of Idaho to ensure that that IPTV is on the air in Burley than it is for the state of Idaho to ensure there's an opera house and disco in Burley.That's the whole point, isn't it? It's not the government's job to provide a television station to provide educational programming (for young or old), entertainment, and biased (or unbiased, for that matter) news. In fact, it's downright dangerous for the state to assume that role, ignoring the dollars and cents of it all.
The fact is, Nickelodeon and other cable channels oriented towards kids, libraries, Netflix, BBCAmerica, 24-hour news channels, CSPAN, etc. do everything that Public Television does--and do it more efficiently, effectively and conveniently. We ought to let them do that, and let the state spend it's money where it's needed.
Sadly, it appears that the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee isn't going along with the idea. I just don't get it.
* Actually, last week in a story on KTVB, Mark Johnson claimed that southern Idaho was one of the best audiences for The Jay Leno Show, which might say more about the State's troubles than anything.