Among the Left, there are obviously quite a few people who listen to NPR. There are also, I'm sure, many who watch public broadcasting on TV (most notably from PBS). Ideologically and practically, I have nothing necessarily against these networks. However, I'm not quite sure in the end you can really justify continuing (or having ever) federal funding.
Now, yes, I do like "Frontline" (although I'm not sure you can cover a deep political topic properly in just an hour) and a few other PBS shows (Globe Trekkers or whatever that one show is called with the guy with the glasses), to be honest (even for a politico like me), but are they really conducive to our society at large? I have yet to see or hear of a single empirical study that says that the educational and/or political programs, as informative as they may be (and containing good, proper debate rather than just talk show-type nonsense), is the only thing keeping us from falling into a corporate abyss, so to speak. It seems to me like the only people who even listen to or watch those shows are usually people who are already sophisticated in their political thinking, so it seems a lot like preaching to the choir. Are there really a lot of uneducated and/or conservative voters who tune into PBS or NPR to get educated, esp. on political matters??
Also, it seems a little elitist to me for the Left to say that we must continue federal funding for public broadcasting. I mean, if there's no actual evidence that it helps our democracy at all and is mostly seen and heard by those who already are informed, what's the point?? You're just saying that something you favor and think is necessary for an informed society must go on, whether or not the rest of the voters (who also, believe it or not, do have their own voices in a non-autocratic system) support it as well. You're basically telling them what's best for them. I've never found that kind of behavior to be becoming of either a conservative or a liberal. It disgusts me.
On the one hand, I do kind of see where liberals are coming from when they argue that public broadcasting serves an important role in educating Americans, esp. on political matters; however, I'm just not sure forcing Americans who don't like or may not necessarily support public broadcasting to do so with their tax dollars is moral or OK. After all, even Thomas Jefferson basically said that forcing someone to support something they may ideologically disagree with, esp. through federal legislation or tax dollars, is abhorrent. If you ask me, public broadcasting should be forced to sink or swim. If there are enough people who actually care about our democracy and keeping important sources of info on the air, it will no doubt survive. But if there aren't, why prolong the inevitable? We'd be fucked anyway because of voter apathy and idiocy. It'd be indicative of a larger trend.
Whenever one side of the aisle says we must support something that only they or a fraction of voters actually support, while the rest are wondering, "Wtf are they doing using MY tax dollars?", I oftentimes get a little riled up at the absurdity of it all. I'm sorry, but I'm not necessarily one of those people who thinks every little thing that may be "good" for society has to have gov't funding, esp. if a lot of those indirectly or unintentionally funding it don't want to. The federal gov't may in fact be too big, and it's conflicts like this that show that maybe giving some things back to the states to manage and figure out what works best is a better idea.