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So, CNN took a poll, asking people to estimate how much of the federal budget goes to PBS and NPR.

The average of the estimates was 5%.

Yes. I said five percent. Of the ENTIRE FEDERAL BUDGET.

I know it's hard to have a sense of proportion about numbers that big, but... but... *boggle* And surely some poll respondents must have known better. So how high did the rest of them guess??

Apparently America deserves whatever crap the commercial broadcasting industry sees fit to shovel out, because we are STUPID.

*sigh* No, I don't actually think that. It's just so frustrating that people really believe public broadcasting is rolling in tax dollars, when it's so very much not the case.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
marag
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
5%? ::headdesk to infinity::

I don't know the real number, but it'd have to be somewhere in the realm of .000001%, wouldn't it?
wiliqueen
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:50 pm (UTC)
.01%. (Which I expect is rounded up a little.)

It's doubly boggling when the Chicago PBS station recently finished a spring pledge drive that ran more than two weeks. With breaks so long they added over an hour to the Les Miz 25th anniversary concert.
maiac
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
Well, about 5% of the NPR budget comes from federal, state, and local government funds. (I just looked it up.) It's so easy to confuse the NPR budget with the total federal budget, you know. ::headdesk::

These are probably the same people who think foreign aid is something like 20% of the federal budget.
wiliqueen
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, of course! That's where the mixup comes in! *snerk*
djarum99
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
If CNN tried asking how much of that budget goes to education, I bet they'd get answers upwards of 50%. I'm sure many of those responding would be glad to know it's only 3%. That Bell does curve, no way around it.
wiliqueen
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm sure. I'm afraid of what the average would come out in that case.
(Deleted comment)
wiliqueen
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
No kidding! If that were true, as brainiacfive noted, they'd be going toe-to-toe with Hollywood, the BBC, and probably Bollywood into the bargain.
studiesinlight
Apr. 1st, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
~whimper~

These would be the same people who think that cutting foreign aid would balance the budget, and who would be shocked to their bones to learn how high personal income taxes were under Nixon and Eisenhower...
wiliqueen
Apr. 1st, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC)
Bite your tongue! We have TERRIBLE EVIL HIGH TAXES THAT ARE CRIPPLING THE ECONOMY BEYONOD ANTHING EVER SEEN BEFORE. < /sarcasm alt="capslock" >

It would be nice to be able to sit back and consider it as a case study in collective delusion or something. Alas...
bktheirregular
Apr. 1st, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
Make the lie big enough, and people will think you can't be lying about something that outrageous; say the lie often enough, and it'll sink below consciousness and people will think it's true.

I'd *headdesk* if it didn't risk breaking my keyboard and I could afford the time to heal from the blunt-impact trauma.
wiliqueen
Apr. 1st, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
Somebody should manufacture desks with head-banging pads. They'd make a mint.
yeopard
Apr. 1st, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, people are stupid. They're probably getting confused by what that percentage means. 5% of PBS's operating budget from the government is WAY different that 5% of the federal budget going to PBS.
wiliqueen
Apr. 1st, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt for having heard somewhere, anywhere, that 5% of the operating budget comes from the government, and just mangled that. That would almost be understandable.

Unfortunately, it's the average of the estimates people in the poll gave. Which means some of them must have guessed even higher. :-/
katie_m
Apr. 1st, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
When I read that I had to imagine some NPR staffer somewhere torn between *headdesk* and "wow, that would be AWESOME."
wiliqueen
Apr. 2nd, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
I figure it's not too hard to imagine. I just take my reaction and multiply it about a thousandfold. :-D
evil_overlord
Apr. 3rd, 2011 12:32 am (UTC)
Looking at "5%", well, without looking at the numbers that entails, it doesn't seem like much. People tend to look at low percentages without stopping to figure out the math [and truthfully I'd probably have to have the hubby figure it out/tell me how to figure it out anyway, 'cause I'm horrid with math] and probably just thought "well, since it's TV, it's probably low, so I'll say low percent!! yeah!"

We could only *wish* that public broadcasting were rolling in the dollars that the public seems to think they are, 'cause then we'd see some *awesome* stuff [they tend to have more history-related stuff than the History Channel does. :P].

But alas, it is not to be.
wiliqueen
Apr. 3rd, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC)
I would be really curious to see the spread of people's actual answers. The average alone doesn't tell you much, except that some people guessed lower, some people guessed higher, and overall they guessed WAY too high.

Also curious what the context of the poll was, if there were any other questions, etc.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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