Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn made national news the past two years for spearheading the Republican drive to end federal funding for public broadcasting. “It’s time for Big Bird to earn his wings and learn to fly on his own,” he said. In a bold marketing move, Rocky Mountain PBS has now tapped Lamborn for a fundraising spot. “We don’t always see eye to eye on everything about public broadcasting,” says Rocky Mountain PBS CEO Doug Price, standing next to Lamborn, to awkward and entertaining effect.
PRICE: We don’t see eye to eye on everything about public broadcasting, but I know you and your family have supported Rocky Mountain PBS with an individual gift.
LAMBORN: Yes, that may surprise some people because as you know I don’t support federal funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But I do know that Rocky Mountain PBS has a vital role in the marketplace of Colorado media. So I urge your viewers to remember their own role. If you watch and enjoy what you see here, your membership dollars are vital to keep it on the air.
Lamborn introduced two bills to zero out funds for public TV and radio this year. His HR 68 would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit federal funding for public broadcasting after fiscal year 2013. His H.R. 69 separately targets National Public Radio funding.
He also introduced a bill to cut NPR funding last year but it was shot down by the Democratic-controlled House.
Lamborn has characterized his efforts as cost-cutting measures during a time of historic budget deficits.
“I have been seeking to push Big Bird out of the nest for over a year, based on the simple fact that we can no longer afford to spend taxpayer dollars on non-essential government programs,” he has said.
Of course, when it comes to cutting “nonessential programs,” members of Congress come up with different wish lists. Lamborn, whose Fifth District hosts a wide range of military academies, training installations and defense contractor businesses, has championed all variety of defense spending during his years on Capitol Hill.
After Fox News launched its own campaign to “defund” NPR in the fall, Lamborn appeared on the network several times and ratcheted up his rhetoric around the legislation.
“You may have heard about the recent firing of NPR News Analyst Juan Williams and the $1.8 million donation by liberal activist George Soros to hire 100 NPR reporters,” Lamborn wrote to supporters. “These two actions make it clear that public broadcasting is a friend and protector of liberal issues and political correctness, at the expense of free speech and balanced news reporting.”