Defunding NPR

and why liberals should get on board….

I was listening to C-Span radio this morning on the drive into town and it got me thinking about NPR, the firing of Juan Williams, and things down the line. The show being broadcast was Washington Journal, and some liberal writer for The Nation and he was on talking about his book and other things. One caller lamented that seniors “haven’t gotten a raise” and the nature of the BLS calculation of the CPI-W was totally foreign to the guy and the host. A hill person would have gotten the drift, this guy didn’t. The caller’s point was that food prices have gone up, but the cost of things like flat screen televisions, which he claimed seniors never buy, went down. Obviously, that’s not true, but his point is taken.

C-Span is funded solely by the cable industry, and cable consumers pay “something like a nickel a month” for it, according to Brian Lamb. Clearly, non-partisan networks can exist without government funding. And that’s a good thing, because any time there’s controversy, government has no real right to tell them what to do. But C-Span didn’t broadcast this show, or this show! Boooooooooooo! That’s the problem with government funding of networks like NPR. The fact that it receives federal funding gives people the right to feel as if they’re entitled to dictate its hiring and programming decisions. At worst, it is a distraction from the really big issues of our day.

Now, I’m not saying NPR is some bastion of socialism/communism/[insert]ism. I’ve listened to it a lot, and they do try hard to be impartial, but they’re really not. Anyone who has listened to NPR for an extended amount of time over the years realizes it is not an inherently neutral type of programming. And I’m not complaining because “it isn’t conservative,” or “it’s too liberal,” — I don’t think that we should fund radio or television programming with tax dollars. That’s just my view.

Here’s why I think liberals should get on board for removing federal funding for NPR.

First and foremost, it does not represent a significant amount of money for the stations. Their CEO even admits NPR could subsist without it. Federal funding is removed, NPR isn’t going anywhere. That’s the first point.

The second, and biggest reason is that it would take away a hot-button issue from serious conservatives, who often are misinformed about NPR. The firing on Juan Williams obviously stoked the fire and brimstone of a lot of bedrock conservatives, and the issue has died down a bit. But until federal funding is removed, it won’t go away.

By removing the small amount of tax dollars from NPR, liberals can take away one of those ancillary issues that conservatives love to gripe about. It will force those people to focus on bigger picture issues, and with the NPR debate behind us, it could benefit both conservatives and liberals who now have a less distracted audience to share their ideas about tax reform, entitlement reform, or what have you.

Of course, that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

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