Flick Harrison on Thu, 9 Apr 2009 06:10:34 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Google dubbed internet parasite by WSJ editor


> Can you please elaborate on this point?

(btw I like your art on your site.)

I hope this isn't too off-topic for nettime.

The conservative anti-public-broadcasting argument, in Canada at least, 
goes like this:

Tax dollars are taken from business, which makes it harder for them to 
compete / survive.
Tax dollars also come out of consumer pockets, so they have less to 
spend.  This hurts business too.
In this tougher environment, public broadcasting (i.e. the CBC) is an 
unfair competitor against private broadcasting.
The public system also sucks ad revenue out of the private sector.  CBC 
gets much of its budget, for instance, through advertising on the hockey 
games. It gets the rights to the games again through unfair advantage.
Public broadcasting also reflects the bias of the ruling party, which 
gives them an unfair advantage.
The ruling party, and therefore public broadcasting, is biased against 
business (to put it mildly).
In this biased, unfair atmosphere, the public is fooled into being 
anti-business as well.
The ruling party can therefore never be dislodged by any pro-business 
party who will eliminate public broadcasting.
Public broadcasting, therefore, is an enemy of democracy, business, and 
every right-thinking person.


*It's a spurious argument because it starts from the premise that public 
broadcasting cannot have any value and therefore the only route through 
the problem is the one that makes things better for private 
broadcasting, and therefore all private business.  The idea that public 
broadcasting might have a value to offset even the perceived damage to 
business is impossible to accept because in conservative eyes, all 
government programs are doomed at best (with the obvious exceptions of 
the military and police, which are infallible).

The argument also fails because it insists that the funding for public 
broadcasting automatically biases the broadcaster in favour of the 
funder, i.e. the ruling party, but it denies absolutely the possibility 
of pro-business bias in private-sector broadcasting. This is especially 
wrong-headed because it ignores the arms-length nature of public 
funding, and the non-arms-length style of corporate decision-making, 
which would seem to suggest the opposite to be the case.

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