Trump to scrap National Endowment for Arts, privatise PBS

Trump to scrap National Endowment for Arts, privatise PBS


norman lebrecht

January 19, 2017

The Hill, a reliable Washington monitor, has been leaked President Trump’s plans for administrative economies.

Among other cuts, he proposes to abolish the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, and to privatise the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Read and watch video here.


  • Ungeheuer says:


  • Brian Hughes says:

    Yes, the U. S. government needs that paltry $150 million to pay for the purchase of another F-35 fighter. Oh wait, they cost $618M EACH!

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      You can’t bomb IS with an oboe.

      • Nick says:

        That is true, one cannot bomb the ISIS with an oboe, but not only that. NEA throw our money away supporting only political causes in the Arts. Go, as an artist, try to get a penny from NEA – you never get anything, unless you are politically connected with the Left

  • Robert Holmén says:

    I would like to see PBS freed from having to worry about offending conservative thought but the privatization route will probably just put them in the grip of corporate thought.

    • Kostis Protopapas says:

      Who knows… Maybe Warren Buffett will buy it.

    • Sara Gold says:

      The difference between commercial and public broadcasting used to be that commercial broadcasters produced programs in order to sell eyeballs and ears to advertisers, i.e., to make money, while public broadcasting asked for public donations and subscribers in order to make programs that would NOT attract advertisers. For quite a few years, public broadcasters have sold their souls to advertisers (a.k.a. “underwriters”) and dumbed down their programming to attract viewers and listeners who don’t contribute. In other words, there’s no longer a difference, so there’s no longer a need for public broadcasting.

      • Anon! A Moose! says:

        “so there’s no longer a need for public broadcasting.”

        Public broadcasting became dead to me when they started crap like The Eagles in concert and dropped most classical offerings. Alt-VH1 doesn’t need my money, and doesn’t deserve my loyalty.

        • V.Lind says:

          Enter the snob factor again — you want to be able to enjoy YOUR music but don’t want anyone who chooses something else to have any airtime. Some people deserve to be marginalised. This sort of attitude is destroying the viability of classical music.

          • Anon! A Moose! says:

            Oh, this doesn’t come from snobbery; while I don’t particularly care for the Eagles I do most of my listening for pleasure to various forms of non-classical. But one of the main justifications for public tv/radio is to give a voice to things that can’t survive in a for-profit marketplace. The Eagles, and all the rest of the boomer nostalgia acts that currently make up public tv’s cultural offerings, can survive just fine without public subsidy.

        • Rich Patina says:

          The Eagles are (in one case, were) superbly talented musicians who bring (brought) incredible joy into the lives of millions. That you cannot appreciate this makes me very sad for you.

          • Anon! A Moose! says:

            “The Eagles are (in one case, were) superbly talented musicians who bring (brought) incredible joy into the lives of millions.”

            And managed to do so entirely over commercial airwaves.

            I’m not against The Eagles or public tv per-se, just that if we’re going to have it it shouldn’t just be an imitation of commercial tv with a different funding model. It should be providing something commercial stations don’t.

  • NYMike says:

    Words are not sufficient to portray my anger at this incoming nincompoop! I’d love to privatize him back to a volcano……

    • V.Lind says:

      And he wonders why A-list talent declines to perform for him. A man whose idea of culture is Miss World pageants and The Apprentice. Who considers Meryl Streep and the musical Hamilton “overrated.” The Barbarians are through the gate.

  • r w says:

    So all those MFA’s who spend all day writing grant proposals will now have to

    1. Move back into their parent’s basement

    2. Get jobs at WalMart to pay off their $250,000 in student loans.

    I weep tears of profound sorrow for them.

    • Scott Fields says:

      Much of the music discussed on this site is subsidized by one government or another. Although the NEA was neutered in the PissChrist era, it would have been a step in the right direction to revive it.

      Years ago I was the president of a non-profit that received NEA support. Our sole mission was to present music.

    • Galen Johnson says:

      The sophomoric ineptitude of your sarcasm evoked a smile in me this morning, thanks!

    • Patrick says:

      So much hate…

  • Alex G says:

    Textbook dictatorship in the making. PBS is one of few networks not tainted by high-profit programming. Soon he’ll be trying to get CSPAN off the air. Belittling artists is an obvious effort, as so few of them support him.

  • V.Lind says:

    1. Which parent? (If you do not understand the question or know the answer, don’t sneer at MFAs).

    2. And why sneer at MFAs in the first place? Universities are supposed to be citadels of learning, not trade and training schools for Wall Street. There IS a world elsewhere…(and that’s a quotation you will not recognise).

    Yours would be a bleak world — and because the masses of America have proven their embrace of intolerance, racism, homophobia, sexism, ignorance, inconsistency, political brinkmanship, malevolence, philistinism, vengefulness, narcissism, vulgarity, arrogance and general, appalling AWFULNESS — without knowing the meaning of half those words — we are about to see how bleak it can be.

  • Artis Wodehouse says:

    The National Endowment for the Arts grant I received in 1989-90 funded my research on Gershwin’s piano rolls, and the credibility and research time this grant bestowed upon my work lead directly to “Gershwin Plays Gershwin” on the Nonesuch label that continues to sell to this day, “Jelly Roll Morton the Piano Rolls”, also on Nonesuch, still selling; transcriptions of Gershwin and Morton rolls still available through Alfred and Hal Leonard, and the production of 6 volumes of “Keyboard Wizards of the Gershwin Era” on the Pearl Label, now regarded as an historic benchmark for this genre of music. It was the National Endowment for the Arts grant that got the ball rolling, and I doubt if I could have accomplished what I did during the 1990s without it. Thank you again, National Endowment for the Arts.

    • Frankster says:

      Comments here reflect the public attitude. Most Americans have no idea what the NEA and the NEH does and don’t care. They also do not care about culture. The number of music critics still working for newspapers can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
      That’s just one example a big change in America’s culture in the past few decades and is not the same in Europe, for instance. Rows of empty seats at the Met? It was different when Roberta Peters was only one of the several opera stars that appeared with frequency on national television. The decline has been long term and persistent. The good news: now the NEA will not be reporting falling attendance.

  • Az Opera Fan says:

    This is fine with me. The NEA doesn’t do all that much, and so many decisions on which organization gets money is based on politics. Funding arts is not the business of the federal government – it’s a state, local, and personal choice. There are many cities which help their local orchestras, bands, operas, museums, etc. Some states are generous, some niggardly. That’s the way it should be. For what it’s worth, the feds do support arts: all branches of the military have extensive music departments and their ensembles (orchestras, bands, jazz/rock groups, choirs) perform extensively. As to PBS – good riddance. It’s so f–king BORING. And very liberally biased. Our local classical station is sponsored by the nearby university and community college district and runs almost exclusively on listener support. If you think the federal gov’t must support orchestras and such, which frankly few people give a damn about, you need to get out and see that we have far more pressing needs in our communities than a professional symphony.

  • CDH says:

    Just because PBS carries programmes with some intellectual content requiring people to actually be able to follow a story (without a laugh track or some blatantly obvious double entendres) does not make it “liberal,” except in the sense that in America ideas seem to be cast — and decried — that way while conservatives seem to prefer dogma and stupidity.

    NPR is the only radio worth listening to in the US.

    What a country — it seems to have finally got the president it deserves (Titus Moronicus). A pity for America’s more thoughtful citizenry, not an insignificant number but unable to muster the kind of mass support the idiots can.

    • AZ Opera fan says:

      1. PBS does offer SOME intellectual content. But there are many other networks that offer intellectual content that is vastly superior. National Geo for one. The History Channel, Science Channel – How the Universe Works is terrific.
      2. PBS offers a lot of crap – at least where I live. Not everything is Downton Abbey. There’s Keeping Up Appearances. Endless reruns of Lawrence Welk. An art show that is a 30 year old rerun. The cooking shows are laughable compared to Food Network.
      3. NPR is NOT the only radio worth listening to – there are plenty (thousands) of AM/FM privately owned an operated stations that offer information, music of all types, news. Guess you’ve never heard Sirius.
      3. How about waiting some time before criticizing the incoming president?? Is it too much to ask. Obama was no great leader. The middle east is a huge mess thanks to his lack of leadership. He more than doubled the national debt. Race relations are worse than ever, as is education, the military, our arts institutions….Obama was pretty weak president. Give Trump a chance.

    • Ed in, but not of, Texas says:

      That’s good, Titus Moronicus. Actually, America’s more thoughtful citizenry gave the lady about 2.7 million votes more than Titus received. Most of us just happen to live in the wrong places.

  • John says:

    Interesting to see here how many view NEH, NEA, and CPB (PBS) as useless. I for one would miss the News Hour, the best news program on television. As for the rest, I think we will not realize what is being lost until it is lost, which could be very soon.

  • Rolf Erdahl says:

    “Where your treasure is, there is your heart will be also.”

    Follow the money.

    We remember the great civilizations of the past more by their words, arts, scientific discoveries ideas, and music than for their budgets, battles, or temporal leaders.

    Who are we? What will we be remembered for?

    What do we value?

    Sadly, the answer seems to remain, “Follow the money.”

  • John Borstlap says:

    Why does always the unreadable happen?

  • William Safford says:

    For people who putatively support the arts and like classical music, there’s a lot of hatred of them from many commenters on this blog.

  • Eob says:

    If Tump eliminates funding for the arts he in all fairness must eliminate funding to faith-based organizations as well. Butt he likely won’t because he doesn’t have the balls.