Reader: Public media is essential to democracy 

The letter praising attempts to eliminate government support of public media ("No more public media," April 5) deserves comment. The Founders envisioned a government that relied on the consent of the governed for authority and legitimacy. This is why they built a system whereby such consent would be granted by citizens who were informed about the issues.

Colonial authorities had worked to limit criticism of crown officials, and the Founders knew their success depended on a free exchange of competing ideas, supported by a network of distribution channels. This is why "freedom of the press" was one of the first additions to the Bill of Rights, and why it has always been in the government's interest to support postal systems, railroads and telegraph service to outlying areas.

I have served in many small towns where "local news" was what advertisers and elected officials (often the same) wanted to hear. Without public radio, thousands of rural residents would never have learned about local crime and corruption, or how their ag-corp employers decided it would be better financially to poison the local water and food supplies than to obey federal pollution and food additive laws.

Broadcast radio and television stations use frequencies that belong to the public. However, since the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine (requiring broadcasters to give equal time to opposing candidates) and restrictions on how many media outlets an individual or business may own in any single market, the public good is no longer being served. Rather than going after the spare change for programs the Founders considered essential to democracy, fans of limited government should be asking why the military needs $54 billion more this year when the Pentagon admits it can't account for $6.5 trillion already spent.

— Rev. Gary Glover, Colorado Springs

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