Well, they finally did it.
The House passed H.R. 1076, a bill that would cut federal funding (tax payer dollars) to National Public Radio. The vote, 228-192 was unsurprisingly along party lines, though 7 Republicans broke away and joined the Democrats in their opposition against the bill.
Which is great, sure, but make no mistake… this bill has very little chance of passing the Senate, where the opposition is much higher, and it has a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving President Obama’s veto pen, so I wouldn’t get to excited about it just yet.
Republicans hailed the passage of the bill as “good fiscal sense”, while Democrats bemoaned the loss of programming such as “Car Talk” and “All Things Considered”.
I’ve listened to NPR now and then in the mornings at work; my boss enjoys it. He’s a Democrat, and an Obama supporter, so no surprises there. “Car Talk” is amusing, but I don’t own a car, so I could care less if it goes off the air.
Have insomnia? Try listening to “All Things Considered”… that’ll put you to sleep in no time. That’s how much I care about that program.
But when I think of NPR, the first thing that comes to my mind isn’t the programming, but rather the lack of it whenever the station holds one of its “pledge drives”. These drives can last as long as 3 days or more, and sometimes it even seems as if they hold one of these drives every other week, for the specific purpose of sending their listeners on guilt trips about how much money they should donate.
“Please send us money… you wouldn’t want such great programming to disappear forever now, would you? Would you!?”
What interests me about these drives, however, is how much importance the pledge hosts put into viewer donations, rather than public funds. They give the same sales pitch every time, and though I can’t remember it word for word, it goes something like this…
“Many listeners believe that because we are a publically funded radio station, we receive most of our funds from the government. While it’s true that we do receive public funds, this is only a small amount. The majority of our funds come from generous donations from great listeners like you!”
That’s strange… didn’t NPR CEO Vivian Schiller… excuse me… former CEO Vivian Schiller state that “We take [federal defunding] very, very seriously. It would have a profound impact we believe on our ability – of public broadcasting’s ability – to deliver news and information.”
A “profound impact”… that’s a pretty strong statement on the importance of federal funding. This directly contradicts the hosts of the pledge drives, as well as disgraced former senior executive Ron Schiller, who said that NPR would be “better off without public funding”.
So which is it? Somebody’s lying here.
Do I believe the Republicans when they say that the passage of this bill was not about a “vendetta” against NPR, and that it’s really about balancing the budget?
Hell no I don’t! I think it is about a vendetta, but to tell you the truth, I don’t give a damn either way.
So don’t worry, faithful NPR listeners. If you really believe that they offer such “great programming”, then you’ll have no problem continuing to fork over the cash they need every month to stay on the air. If federal funding is cut, then NPR will be just like every other business out there; providing services that people are willing to pay for… or are you one of those listeners that waits for everyone else to send their donations?
Just quit demanding that I pay for it too, whether I like it or not.
House Votes to Cut Federal Funds for NPR : Associated Press, 03/17/2011
NPR Senior Executive: Tea Party “Racist” and “Xenophobic”: David Van Edema, Associated Content, 03/08/2011