Four-Star Retired Army General: Protect PBS from Trump Budget Cuts

“We need public media that acts as our largest classroom.”

Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMA

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Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal has come to the defense of public media amid the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate all $445 million in annual funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS’s parent company.

In an op-ed for the New York Times Wednesday, the four-star retired army general specifically addressed the argument that by slashing funding for public broadcasting networks, the government can prioritize its military spending and make the country safer. He argued that such narratives are built around a “false choice” that ultimately hurt children and working parents.

“Public television works hard to engage young learners and build the skills needed for a jump-start on life,” McChrystal said. “We need our youngest to be curious, resilient, and empathetic, and prepared for the jobs of the future.”

“We don’t have to pick one over the other,” he added.

McChrystal also emphasized the role public broadcasting has in restoring American trust in government institutions.

Last month, Trump released his preliminary budget plan, which seeks to gut a slew of federal programs aimed at assisting low-income Americans, while significantly boosting the government’s military and defense spending. The proposal sparked widespread alarm and was called out for its likelihood in hurting the very same voters that helped Trump get elected to the White House.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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