You wanna' know why we need PBS? Here's why!

Kevin Long
Kevin Long's picture

Hi. Kevin Long here. I don't work here, but I'm pinch-hitting for Mama Fisi, who was supposed to have an article up but had some unavoidable behind-the-scenes stuff, and couldn't make the deadline.

Back during the presidential debate, our party's unfathomably bad choice for the candidate basically made it be known that, if elected, he'd shut down PBS. This is something we've heard again and again over the last 20 years from both parties. Even the Simpsons has commented on how the increasing plethora of education-based cable channels makes PBS basically irrelevant.

This is bunk.

Firstly, the federal government spends about 400 million dollars AN HOUR. If we were to cut PBS entirely, that would only free up enough money to keep the federal government running for 90 minutes. In the process we'd be putting about 30,000 people out of work, too. So: not a viable idea.

Secondly, despite its transparently leftist bias, PBS has an advantage over The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, The Science Channel, and their peers in that they're not deliberately misinforming people.

Case in point, let's take "Ancient Aliens," a series that ran on "The History Channel" for FOUR seasons.

For anyone who's seen it, it's the worst kind of tripe, all about crystal skulls and ancient Egyptian lightbulbs and easter island statues and aztec astronauts and, you know, the usual illiterate nonsense. It also features gratuitous use of Giorgio Tsoukalos raving on and on about crap with his wild cocaine-addict hair. I'm not a violent man by nature, and I don't generally see people and think about hitting them, but brother, the first time I saw him on TV - the very first instant - I thought "I really want to punch him."

In fact, this series is so amazingly astoundingly bad that I frequently think it has to be some kind of elaborate gag ("Let's see just how much we can get them to believe! And promote that new Indiana Jones movie, too!")

How bad can it be? So bad that an entire documentary has been made refuting pretty much every claim made by this illiterate crap series. Check it out:

Now, compare this with NOVA, a fine science series that's been running for more than a generation. When confronted with pseudoscience, what do they do? They rip it to shreds, baby. Back in the wee years of the 21st century, there was a book called "1421: When China Discovered the World" which was screamingly popular, and based on nonsense only slightly less ridiculous than the 'aliens' crap I've cited above.

Nova did a special 2-hour episode about this, first explaining all the claims, and interviewing the author about his bestseller, then systematically refuting EVERY SINGLE ONE of them, and destroying the premise. Why? Because that's what you do with lies: you expose them and destroy them. You do *NOT* pass off horsecrap as truth.

And that's what the Discovery/History/Science/Learning channels generally do: anything for a ratings point.

And this is why we need PBS, kids.