Former CPB Board chair suggests how to save funding

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Cheryl Halpern, who headed the CPB Board from 2005 to 2007, writes about what she sees as “A last chance to save CPB” in Monday’s (Nov. 8) Congress Blog from The Hill, coming at a time of increasing calls to zero out funding for public broadcasting. “The question that Congress needs to address is not whether the national providers of public programming should be shut down,” she writes. “It’s how to reform the legislation that created these institutions, given the changing media landscape.”

She said Congress should consider amending the authorizing legislation so public broadcasters are “expected to adhere strictly to measurable and definable standards of accuracy and transparency.” She feels that legislators need to “delineate what public broadcasters can and cannot do with regard to the ever evolving and expanding digital and online media universe.”

Halpern also found herself troubled recently after a visit to a public broadcasting channel’s website. She writes that the corporate logo of a sponsor, an international watchmaker, was “prominently displayed” there.

“I clicked on that logo and was brought to the watchmaker’s official marketing site,” she writes. “This corporation therefore is realizing public acknowledgment for its sponsoring public broadcasting and at the same time is receiving both the accompanying tax-deduction as well as a corporate commercial link courtesy of its gift to the public station. This isn’t right.”

In October 2005, when Halpern took the helm on the CPB Board, Current described her as “an attorney, real estate developer and longtime GOP donor.” She replaced the controversial Kenneth Tomlinson.