A recommendation in the form of a memorandum is presented by the city’s council for reallocation of the art budget to fund public television instead. The basis for their argument is that while the attendance of museums has seen a rise due to the visual arts programs on television, public television is threatened by budget cuts that would put an end to these shows—lowering museum goers. Their advice is to invest in a more profitable field: Public Television. This argument fails to be convincing for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it is assumed that the 15% increase in number of museum goers has a link to the visual arts programs on television. While, the statement may be true, it is possible that the increase in museum goers, could simply be a result of museum advertising, tourism increase or a general interest in arts by the citizens. It is difficult to correlate the percentage of museum attendees that not only watch art programs, but visited the museum as a result of it. Much like the age old question, “What came first; the chicken or the egg?”; a cause-and-effect relationship cannot be established with the current information.
Additionally, the quoted researches have a difference of 5 years, and unless the same group of individuals are asked the same questions with differing answers, it is difficult to state the change as a solid fact regarding the change in viewership. The first group could have fewer art lovers than the second one. Had the second one filled out the previous survey, the results could have been much different.
Lastly, there is a demand of visual arts programs on television. While the quoted study states a 15% increase in the last 5 years, no information of the total number of people interested in visual arts programs is given. Also, there is an increasing demand for such programs. If the supply if cut off, people would visit more museums as a result of the shortage. Advertisers and television stations would be forgo profits, if the increase in funding for public television came at the cost of funding for the arts.
In conclusion, the argument lacks the evidence that could make the council’s case stronger. Had the memorandum been backed by statistical information, such as by conducting a survey of how many people would encourage the recommendation, the argument would have been stronger. As it is right now, it lacks the quantitative evidence needed to make an educated decision about the funds allocation.