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March 31, 2011

Comments

Paul

NPR receives around $60 million a year.

If we can afford to go half way around the world and lob 260 cruise missiles at Libya, at $600,000 each ($156 million total), we can fund NPR.

Gordon C

Then where else do we cut? Whether it is 60m for NPR or the total 430m for all of PBS, we are using 1.6 trillion dollars every year that we do not have. This is not about politics or bias. We are out of money. Period.

Leave politics out (though I agree we are wasting our quality weapons in Libya) but purely as an economic exercise, eliminate the DoD budget, the supplemental funds for Afghanistan and Iraq, and we still are spending 1 trillion dollars a year we don't have.

If you think it is ugly now, wait until we have start cutting Social Security and Medicare.

Bill Bush

No offense, Gordon, but this _is_ about politics. Despite all the billions of tax dollars flung in all the corners of the nation and world, defunding NPR has been a conservative wish-list item for years.

That said, I think NPR will survive on the funding from listeners if it does not sell out to corporations. It is button number 1 on all my radios, and it is my number two donation area. I may have to up my monthly membership by twenty dollars, but I won't be alone. The alternatives are almost unthinkable.

Conservatives have told me NPR was a liberally biased outfit, but I have always challenged them to listen to it for a week and bring me their examples. None have ever had a list of examples. In fact, one was very pleasantly surprised to find he liked it.

As far as being out of money, I think this country could find the money it needs if the search were conducted by the right people. Some of us raised by Depression-era parents and grandparents know what economy is and how it differs from luxury. We also recognize fraud and waste and corporate give-aways. America is not broke. America is self-defrauded.

TomWc

Gordon asks, "where else do we cut?" That's a great question. Check out this info-graphic on the budget to decide for yourself. Be sure to hide the mandatory spending.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/02/01/us/budget.html

Bob C.

Excellent graphic - thanks for the link TomWc. It brings up a (perhaps dumb sounding) question: what makes the "mandatory spending" mandatory? Why is so much of the budget off limits? The cuts that they are talking about do very little to deal with the fiscal disaster that is headed our way. Much more needs to be done.

As for cutting NPR, it's a mouse's fart in a hurricane. Cutting its funding makes no difference in the grand scheme. What is in question is whether our tax dollars needs to fund this service. And, if we do collectively fund it, whether more safeguards should be in place to ensure that it is unbiased. And make no mistake - it is biased. It is biased leftward because practically every staffer at NPR is politically liberal. Whether the network itself has designs on having a leftward spin is very questionable. But the personalities of each individual collectively makes it happen.

Perhaps NPR should strive for more diversity of opinion when making hiring decisions. Same goes for individual NPR stations. They're so into diversity, yet there's very little political diversity offered. Much like your average American university.

Solve that issue and there will be very little talk of defunding from ticked-off taxpayers. Because as a budgetary item, it is insignificant.

Tom Welch

I'd like to see PBS get totally defunded, PBS has long outlived its initial mission. Also, NPR does not need federal dollars but many of its local and small NPR stations do.

Jeffrey McMahon

Tom, I've been listening to NPR for about 24 years. I rarely watch PBS.

Charles N.

Bill B.:

You've got to be kidding about NPR not being biased. Did you miss the story last week about James O'Keefe's sting operation, where Ron Schiller, NPR's senior vice president of development, was caught on video tape saying that the GOP had been "hijacked" by "Islamophobic," "xenophobic," "gun-toting," "racist, racist people?" Do you seriously doubt that this opinion is not almost universally shared throughout NPR and PBS? Moreover, Schiller himself later stated that NPR "would be better off in the long run without federal funding!" What more evidence do you need?

Jeffrey McMahon

While I have no doubt NPR employees are left of center, O'Keefe is not credible, his tactics, his lies, his deceits. He is an unctuous charlatan.

Tim

Years ago, I listened exclusively to NPR. Then I began to notice certain biases in their reporting - always taking the liberal views as the norm and anything to the contrary as abnormal. Often, the news items that were most important to me were left unreported, or were at least belittled. Anything NPR had to say about the Church, abortion, gay "marriage," etc. could be predicted with accuracy.

Now I can't stand NPR. I listen once and a while until I hear the same old snobby high brow leftist attitudes. Even the BBC is far more preferable.

One can complain about conservative AM radio being opinionated, but at least the conservatives generally admit they're expressing opinions. NPR seems to presume that THEIR opinions are reality.

I would love to see NPR defunded.

Gordon C

Hi Bill! No offense taken. There is much to discuss about NPR/PBS that is political. I didn't mean to deny it merely to state that my rationale for defunding them is economic.

I find them liberal by omission. Conservative and Libertarian voices are absent or woefully underrepresented. As one commenter above said, they regard the left of center as the norm. I've been a listener for years (mostly the 5-6 Evening Edition, 6-6:30 Biz, and Click and Clack).

Ultimately, I don't think Radio and TV are a proper Constitutional function of the Federal Government.

DanHL

First off - I am the one who sent Jeff the link. I am a public radio supporter and think public radio programs are far superior to what is produced commercially.

Instead of everybody speaking off the top of their heads why don't you go listen to the podcast referenced in the post? I challenge you to:

1. Listen to the podcast.
2. Find another podcast, news program or talk show (and link to it here in comments) where this issue is treated in such a similar fair and balanced manner. I won't hold my breath because you won't.

Both sides of the issue were treated fairly in the podcast and after hearing it I concluded that NPR should be de-funded. My reasoning is that federal funding gives NPR an unfair advantage and discourages other public media organizations from forming and trying to compete. If NPR were de-funded we would end up with more interesting and varied programming.

I would be interested to hear from anybody who actually listened to the podcast. Do you think the topic was treated fairly? Was any political bias evident?

Angelo

Bill: None of your friends reported back to you after you challenged them to listen for a week because they fell asleep while listening during the first 15 minutes. If the programming is of the quality you assert and if enough people feel the same as you do, you have no worries---it will survive without my taxes. If on the other hand, the audience base is a few dozen people, I don't want to pay for it and it doesn't need to survive anyway. DanHL: I've heard plenty of local hosts in the Washington, DC area on the NPR stations. I love some of the music shows, but the commentary is far left of center. It's one thing for a liberal to be offended by Rush Limbaugh---it's quite another for a conservative to be offended by NPR and know they are paying the hosts' salary.

DanHL

Angelo, we need to discuss specifics, not vague bias. Did you listen to the podcast referenced above? What was biased about it?

Angelo

No, I didn't listen to the podcast. Why do you think isolating one program proves anything to someone who is making accusations of general political bias on programming?

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