Ken Burns, defending PBS in USA Today, pits Reagan’s words against Romney’s

By Andrew Lapin

PBS documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, whose extensive credits include The Civil War, Baseball and the upcoming The Dust Bowl, authored an editorial in Tuesday’s USA Today in which he said that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney “knows the price of things, but he clearly doesn’t know their value.”

Romney has attracted the ire of the pubcasting community for frequently stating throughout his campaign that he would cut funding to CPB, and he reiterated his intent to do so during last week’s presidential debate.

Burns recalled filming The Civil War in the late 1980s, during which time he visited then-President Ronald Reagan in the White House. At the time, according to Burns, Reagan expressed his support and admiration for both the National Endowment for the Humanities and CPB, two government-funded entities that backed the film.

“Reagan put both hands on my shoulder and said, ‘That’s it! We need public-private partnerships. The government primes the pump, and then the private sector has the motivation to get involved. Good work! I can’t wait to see the finished film,'” Burns wrote. “He later wrote me a kind note about how much the series meant to him.”

Burns also related meeting cadets at West Point who told him The Civil War helped inspire their decision to enter the military.

“PBS remains our shared space,” Burns said. “It is a place where we can all feel at home.”

  • http://www.dregstudios.com Brandt Hardin

    Reagan has a legacy so distorted by the Conservative idolization of him that we may never have a clear picture of the real man behind the television set beyond the elaborate myth now concocted around him. Did he really rid the world of commie scum? Did destroy or save our economy? Check out my portrait of The Gipper and help me figure it out on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/02/happy-100th-gipper.html with some Cold War Hollywood!

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