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Patricia Harrison, the controversially-appointed new president of CPB, today made her first public appearance in that role. In testimony before the Senate subcommittee overseeing CPB, Harrison pled pubcasting’s case for greater federal funding than the House has approved to this point. “The federal dollars are critical to leveraging all the other resources,” she said. “It opens the door for funding from state and local governments, universities, businesses, foundations, by providing a “seal of approval” from the federal government.” Embattled CPB Board Chair Ken Tomlinson also appeared to add his two cents and take shots from senators regarding his efforts to hire consultants and otherwise act on his much-reported concerns about pubcasting balance. “You’ve perceived a problem the American people don’t perceive,” said Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) during a contentitous barrage of questions. Responding to a query from multiple lawmakers, Tomlinson said he’d “absolutely” be willing to meet Bill Moyers for a televised debate on pubTV balance issues, but said it “wouldn’t be good for public broadcasting.” Tomlinson’s written statement also defended the much-maligned Hallmark, er, Mann study. PBS President Pat Mitchell and APTS President John Lawson also testified, as did David Boaz, executive v.p. of the Cato Institute, who argued that the government should end all federal funding for pubcasting within five years.

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