What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
The following meme has been going around social media since President Donald Trump made mention of cutting the funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
There’s a big tell in that last sentence. Think about it. When’s the last time anybody in this tectonically and fundamentally-divided country gave a shit about “kindness and the happiness of others?” If you were to judge by the American “lame-stream” media, this country is little more “than look at me while I shout you down.” It is because of that polarized environment that a practical solution to the question of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and its subsidiaries the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio won’t see the light of day.
The simple fact of the matter is that CPB has outlived its purpose. When it was founded in the 1960’s there were vast areas in this country which were not served by commercial television and radio, and even in well-covered areas, there was not an outlet for many of the things CPB carried in it’s early days. I’m a fifty-year old guy, and I can tell you a big part of my learning to read was from Morgan Freeman as the “Easy Reader” on “The Electric Company.” Much of what made CPB what it was now is gone outright, or has morphed after being sold to some gargantuan corporate entity.
What’s left is a relic of days gone by which has become little more than a multi-faceted political “stalking horse,” libertarians and those right-of-center bemoan the existence of government-funded media in a country which supposedly has freedom of speech and of the press, and progressives are not going to give up something which have become a de facto soft propaganda outlet which (and here’s the key) doesn’t have to be responsive to market forces.
So, what do we do? Leaving the CPB as it exists now is just a waste of resources; the proof it doesn’t work is three times a year they have a fund-raiser by trying to sell me a tote bag for $150. Simply cutting its funding to let it die on the vine is also a waste.
That’s why I think why its time to re-purpose the CPB into a sports media network which is actually about sports. Let’s be honest, ESPN died years ago as a credible outlet, and that demise was a result of reasons far beyond the injection of politics into sports…but that’s the example even non-sports fans can easily see.
By prying the CPB off the government teat and converting it into a purely all-sports entity immediately solves several problems. First of all, it privatizes something which should be private, which means it would have monstrous profitability potential. For the pro-government crowd, this new sports network would likely pay billions in taxes; just look at how much money flows through the sports world.
But here’s the real need for this. Sports is now, and has always been a unifying force. I have a ton of friends, most of whom with I have at least some political differences of opinion. But the love of sport brings us together. America is today at a point where the futility of political extremism has literally gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. The CPB lost all it’s credibility when it changed the Cookie Monster into a vegetarian. In much the same way, ESPN committed credibility suicide when it became clear it’s management was intolerant of views with which it didn’t agree.
The CPB has the resources; with PBS it has over-the-air television stations and a basic-cable presence. With NPR, its got over-the-air radio and other media avenues. Since ESPN abdicated the throne of non-biased sports media, it’s time to take it back.
Sports may not be the only unifying force we have, but it certainly is a large one. And we need to start somewhere…aoon.