House to Vote on Fate of NPR Funding

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Uploaded on March 18, 2011 by newsydotcom

BY: CHRISTIE NICKS
ANCHOR: CHRISTINA HARTMAN

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National Public Radio could take one step closer to becoming National Private Radio- if conservatives get their way in the House on Thursday. Republicans argue - in a time of unprecedented deficits - NPR can do without federal funding.

The ax comes swinging as NPR is caught in the heat of controversy over what critics call a liberal bias.

MEGYN KELLY: “A Tea Party Group is now demanding that Congress pull funding from NPR, a supposedly nonpartisan broadcasting group, after a soon-to-be ex-fundraising executive is caught on tape slamming conservatives and the Tea Party.”

That incident led to the resignations of two of NPR’s top executives -- the most recent being CEO Vivian Schiller. Still - critics ask - is this the kind of cut Congress should be making?

Movement Vision video blogger Sally Kohn says - let’s look at the big picture: NPR gets only a teeny-tiny piece of the federal pie.

“80 million, out of three and a half trillion. Just by comparison, this is a large dog, if this dog were the 3 and a half trillion dollar budget, then the 80 million dollars in NPR funding would be equal to one hair, actually, maybe like, a half a hair… you can see that, right?”

It’s a small cutback in what Republicans call a bloated federal budget, but a writer for NewsReal Blog says- we’ve got to start somewhere.

“It is time to get serious about actually cutting the deficit and stop talking about it… [W]hile negotiations with the White House and Senate Democrats proceed … the cuts should also include some lefty sacred cows...”

According to NPR - two percent of its funding comes from - quote - "competitive grants from federal agencies."

But member stations that purchase programming from NPR receive more federal dollars and then send some of that money back to NPR in fees. ABC and NPR commentator Cokie Roberts says – Republican efforts to take away funding are just another partisan mash-up.
“Efforts to zero out federal funding are political ploys aimed at satisfying a few conservatives who are unhappy with the facts that compromises have to be made on other issues.”

But in the same article, ABC commentator George Will shot back saying - it’s not all about NPR -- it’s about spending.

“The government is subsidizing entertainment and journalism. Is there a shortage of either?...Let me be clear … if the government were running a huge surplus, I would still favor getting government out of the entertainment and journalism business, where it does not belong.”

While many of the urban NPR stations don’t use much of the government’s funding, some rural stations rely on it for as much as 50 percent of their annual budget.

Still - former NPR fundraising exec Ron Schiller said himself - in the long run - NPR would be fine without federal money.

“Shiller also told prospective donors that NPR would be better off without federal money, to avoid political meddling, ‘NPR definitely would survive, most of the stations would survive,’ though he then warned a lot of stations would go dark without federal support.”

In a statement released Thursday the White House says it - quote - “strongly condemns” any efforts to defund National Public Radio.


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Tags:
Npr, National Public Radio, Conservatives, Federal Funding, Liberal Bias, Nonpartisan, Fundraising, Tea Party, Member Stations, Journalism, Multisource, Politics News, Ron Schiller, Federal Money, Stations, White House, Defund, Obama, News & Events
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