Take that, Antiques Roadshow!

As part of his bizarre neo-conservative five four-year plan for New Jersey, yesterday Governor Christie laid off the state's public broadcasters, all of them, in order to save money for tunnel building not government.

I'm a leftist and also blah, blah, blah, public radio, blah, blah, blah, I <3 government and soft-spoken nutmeg peddlers, blah, blah, blah. Okay, we've gotten that out of the way. To continue, I definitely see Christie's move as a cynical strike against what conservatives perceive as one of America's greatest examples of state-sponsored liberalism. Here's the thing: there is no such thing as unbiased media. Even if you're broadcasting the feed from an open mic, someone's got to make an editorial decision about where to place it. And yes, state-run media is no exception. There was no truth in Izvestia and no news in Pravda*, no?

It's possible to exert influence over the media, even the public media. Remember when some dudes convinced PBS to air the The George Shultz Experience? Me neither, but the concept is that were conservatives to put their minds to it, they could (continue to) make public broadcasting more trickle-down-tacular and Cold Wargasmic.

But that's not what these layoffs are about. I suspect they're also not just about distrust of the state, but about distrust of information itself.

Charity isn't going to be enough to broadcast boring speeches from politicians. Press conferences aren't exactly thrilling either. Have you heard one of Obama's pressers lately? I dare you to make money off that (in that I don't).

Broadcasting the nuts and bolts of government isn't necessarily popular**, which is why it's the state's job. Hell, even Izvestia went halfway and printed the government policies and speeches the totalitarian Soviet regime wanted the citizenry to read. Apparently New Jersey residents can no longer even expect that.

*A favorite Russian witticism of mine. The names of the largest Soviet newspapers, Izvestia and Pravda roughly translate as news and truth respectively. There's the joke. It's more of an lolsob, really.

**As a young adult, I spent the period after Christmas with a massive tin of cheese, butter, and caramel popcorn watching back-to-back-to-back State of the State addresses, but I suppose YMMV. Also, that reminds me, Gov. Christie? You can't hold a candle to Gov. Whitman, and that's not saying much in my book.

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