Is PBS worthwhile?

There’s a lot of discussion going on right now – February 19, 2008 – in the New York Times about whether PBS is worth affording government subsidy. I suspect the only reason this is going on is because it stinks. Though National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and public radio in general is doing well, it stinks, too. Despite the vast gift to it by Joan Kroc, they continue to pander to advertisers. Though “Morning Edition” is still popular, I find the annoyances between the stories (there are only 54 minutes of them, scattered over a two-hour period) intolerable. I find the constant reminders that they have a website intolerable. I find their websites intolerable. I find everything about the local stations, both TV and radio, intolerable. I find the fact that the only schedules on the internet for my viewing area in Miami which I do find tolerable (Channel 2 and Channel 17 — even these have to be run through a complicated sed script to be of any use) don’t give essential information (for example, I saw “Richard Bangs’ Adventures With a Purpose” once, but didn’t realize there was more than one episode of it) are dreadfully lacking intolerable, too. My favorite public TV station, Channel 63, doesn’t even have a regularly updated schedule; there’s no way to tell what’s on! The New York Times is just as bad. I have to add “?pagewanted=printable” to the end of every article’s URL, but there’s no way to view most of the site the way I’d like it — fully functional, navigable, and visible in lynx (a text-only browser) and utterly devoid of advertising. The fact is, I don’t have time to sit through all the trash they push on me; I’ve got better ways of spending my time and attention.

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