Writers Guild East Rips Proposal to Eliminate Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Federal Subsidy

The guild speaks out against the House Appropriation Committee's proposal to do away with the $531 million funding.

The Writers Guild East is continuing its role as perhaps the most legislatively active Hollywood union, condemning a proposal to eliminate the $531 million federal subsidy that supports the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

"The Writers Guild of America East opposes renewed efforts by members of the House Appropriations Committee to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting," the guild said in a statement, also raising the specter of a very non-kid-friendly headline: "Congress to Big Bird: ‘Drop Dead.’"

The guild cited the importance of federal funding in supporting programming and institutions such as Sesame Street, Frontline, PBS and NPR. The union announced the beginning of an online campaign as well.

CPB is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 that helps support over 1,300 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. In the last fiscal year, essentially all of its budget was provided by the federal subsidy.

In turn, 89% of the budget was then disbursed to stations and content providers, with 6% spent on "system support" and 5% on administration. CPB is the largest single source of funding for public radio and television program development and has frequently come under Republican fire because of the perceived liberal bent of NPR and public television and, more recently, that public broadcasting is less important in a 500-channel universe.