General McChrystal: Save PBS. It makes us ‘smarter, stronger, safer.’ (Details)


Retired US Army General Stanley McChrystal is standing up to the Trump Administration by making a plea to save PBS. McChrystal led the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and remains a highly respected figure in the scope of national security.

In a New York Times op-ed, McChrystal made his feelings very clear.

I like to say that leadership is a choice. As our leaders in Washington confront tough decisions about our budget priorities, I urge them to continue federal funding for public broadcasting. Public broadcasting makes our nation smarter, stronger and, yes, safer. It’s a small public investment that pays huge dividends for Americans. And it shouldn’t be pitted against spending more on improving our military. That’s a false choice.

McChystal drew upon his military experience to explain why PBS is crucial to US success.

This might seem like an unlikely position for me, a 34-year combat veteran. But it’s a view that has been shaped by my career leading brave men and women who thrive and win when they are both strong and smart. My experience has taught me that education, trusted institutions and civil discourse are the lifeblood of a great nation.

While McChystal touts the benefits he saw with better education soldiers, this same logic would also apply to all other professions. We need better educated businessmen, medical professionals, etc, and much of this starts at a young age. This is where PBS has always succeeded.

Image via PBS

PBS is also a favorite among many parents because of their commercial-free programming.

Public, noncommercial broadcasting is also giving kids social-emotional skills like persistence and self-control that are fundamental to success in school, not to mention in the military, the institution where I spent most of my career.

Even if the defunding measures pass, it won’t kill PBS entirely, but only in the areas where it’s needed most. Rural areas, full of Trump voters, are where most of the federal dollars go to keep PBS alive. This will set-back growth in these areas and the lack of education will lead to more conservative voters in the future. This is why we must call/write our representatives and demand that they keep PBS and NPR fully funded.


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