ERIC Number: ED395338
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
If You Take the King's Shilling, You Do the King's Bidding: Funding and Censorship of Public Television Programs.
Drushel, Bruce E.
Public broadcasting in the United States frequently draws criticism from conservatives who accuse it of pursuing an agenda promoting environmentalism, gay rights, affirmative action, reproductive choice, and other liberal causes, and of being hostile to conservative interests such as defense, the pro-life effort, and the promotion of Christian values. To date, concerns over censorship in public television have focused, not on overt efforts by Congress to determine the bounds of acceptable programs, but on not-so-subtle pressure at both the national and the local level to self-censor or risk loss of funding. Several recent cases of controversial programs have led to calls for ties between funding of the public television system and program content--programs such as "Tongues Untied,""Portrait of a Marriage," and "Tales of the City." Assessing the constitutionality of possible future efforts by Congress to place content-related conditions on the funding of public television seems to require that 3 areas of law be analyzed: (1) the current statutory framework in which the public television system operates; (2) the recent case law in the area of the First Amendment and public broadcasting; and (3) relevant overarching judicial principles. Although the Doctrine of Constitutional Conditions offers protection against congressional interference, even it may allow content of individual programs to be a factor in funding decisions--and legal scholars question the relevance of a legal principle whose genesis was in the New Deal era. (Contains 30 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Congress; Controversial Topics; First Amendment; Religious Right
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (81st, San Antonio, TX, November 18-21, 1995).