Ban Private Media. Support NPR
I saw this defensive article by a public school teacher who chose to send her kid to a private school.
I only discovered the reasons for the defensiveness at the end:
Vox editor Matthew Yglesias claims … “At best private school is a private consumption good, like buying your kids expensive clothes.” Gawker writer John Cook argues that private school should be illegal. A “public school dad” recently published a “plea to private school parents” on ABC.com that efforts like mine to “get the best education possible in the land of the free … sucks on a bunch of levels.” And at least 70,000 people on Facebook liked the “manifesto” against private schools written by Slate senior editor Allison Benedikt, whose many points included: “If you send your kid to private school” then you are “a bad person … ruining one of our nation’s most essential institutions.”
In Benedit’s defense, she does hedge a little. Private school parents, she says, are “Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad.”
Still, I think these writers may be onto something. Restricting private options and righteously issuing moral condemnation on those who use them is surely the healthiest way to improve the public option.
So why stop there?
We all know that National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System are grievously underfunded. Private media companies meanwhile make billions yearly. They claim themselves exempt from political finance laws because…actually, I don’t know why anyone thinks they should be exempt, but there they are doing what would be considered a flagrant violation of campaign finance rules if any other companies were to attempt it.
Let’s look, in contrast at NPR and PBS and Voice of America reporters. Like the writers linked above confess in their own pieces, I don’t have any actual data and am just emoting onto my keyboard, but I’m guessing none of them make billions of dollars. Instead, all those resources and attention go to the private media companies who eat up most of the literal bandwidth and attention that could otherwise be used by public media sources.
This isn’t to say that Vox, ABC, Slate, and Gawker are Hitler evil; they’re just regular evil. The world would be better off without them so that anyone who wants news is forced to turn to the public option.
Let’s go ahead and be charitable and not make such private media illegal outright, though I assume that would be John Cook’s preference. We should simply increase the personal tax rates of those who write for them to be more like those of Halliburton execs. Additionally, we should tax the money companies spend on advertising through media as if they were renting a car from the airport. We should simply treat these companies in the tax code as what they are: dire threats to a sustainable public media system.