It's Time for the Federal Government to Stop Funding NPR


jenny erikson
Jenny Erikson
A few months ago, conservatives were outraged at the firing of liberal Juan Williams by National Public Radio for saying that flying with Islamic-looking males made him nervous on Fox News’ The O’Reily Factor. According to NPR’s head honcho Vivian Schiller, Mr. Williams had “several times in the past violated [their] news code of ethics with things that he had said on other people’s air.”

Apparently expressing an opinion based on the fact that virtually every airplane-hijacking terrorist in the United States over the past few decades has been a Jihadist is punishable by unemployment from NPR. Juan Williams did not state that he thought all Muslims were terrorists, or even that he refused to fly with them. He simply stated that it made him nervous. 

Shortly thereafter, many prominent conservative pundits called for NPR to be defunded of the federal money that it receives. Private businesses can run things how they see fit, but organizations receiving taxpayer money should not be able to terminate someone’s employment for expressing a valid opinion, especially when it wasn’t even done on NPR’s airwaves.

In November, the then-Democratic House of Representatives defeated a bill to cut the federal funding of NPR. The supposedly unbiased organization released this statement after the vote: 

In an increasingly fractious media environment, public radio’s value in fostering an informed society has never been more critical. Our growing audience shows that we are meeting that need. It is imperative for federal funding to continue to ensure that this essential tool of democracy remains available to all Americans and thrives well into the future.

Fast forward to March 2011. Ron Schiller, a senior executive at NPR, was caught on tape in a sting operation criticizing the Republican party, and Tea Party Republicans in particular, as being racist, fundamentalist Christian, and fanatically involved in people’s personal lives.

**Side note: Democrats want to control our health care, our education, and what we can feed our kids, but Republicans are "fanatically involved in people’s personal lives"? Um, ok ...

Conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe caught Mr. Schiller, along with NPR’s director of institutional giving Betsy Liley, meeting with two members of a Muslim Brotherhood front group. The NPR executives didn’t know it, but the men were actors representing the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC). They claimed that they would like to donate $5 million to NPR. 

On a website set up to lend credibility to the MEAC, it explicitly states that its goal in existing is to combat “intolerance to spread acceptance of Sharia across the world.” Sharia law, where the death penalty is enforced for apostasy (leaving the faith), a man may punish his wife by beating her, and there is no separation between church and state.

After the undercover tape was released, Schiller was fired, not for being an anti-Republican bigot, but for unprofessional conduct. NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation) also parted ways with the company. NPR issued a statement making it clear that they never had any intention of accepting the $5 million donation offered, and in fact repeatedly refused to accept the donation from the MEAC.

That’s when O’Keefe released part two of his NPR sting operation, in which Betsy Liley (from the original video) explains exactly how the Muslim Brotherhood front group committed to spreading acceptance of Sharia law could donate anonymously to avoid any federal investigations. 

The second video shows that NPR was not only willing to take the money, but also to be sneaky about it, and then to lie about it when caught red-handed. 

National Public Radio can run its business any way it wants to. America is a free country, after all. But it needs to stop doing it on the taxpayer’s dime.


corporations, discrimination, economy, feminism, in the news, islam, media, politics, taxes, tea party


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Madel... MadelynMc

ACTUALLY, even Glenn Beck admitted and recognized that O'Keefe edited the tape out of context and at times edited it so that what was presented was basically a lie. His words. And now many conservatives are questioning the tape and that what Schiller was actually saying was that many CONSERVATIVES had expressed to him that they felt the Tea Party was xenophobic, racist, etc. and that he couldn't say he disagreed. If you actually did your research before regurgitating information (as would be expected of an intelligent person, which you clearly are not) you would also know that what O'Keefe DOESN'T show you is that NPR repeatedly told those who were trying to make the donation that they would have to disclose it to the IRS, that they couldn't keep it a secret, and that they ultimately DECLINED the donation. Come on, Jenny. Give the topic due diligence before you write it all over the Internet, or you're no better than the people you condemn.

PonyC... PonyChaser

The question still remains: should NPR and PBS continue to receive federal money? Granted, it is not a huge part of the federal budget. I heard over the weekend that NPR receives approximately $430m in federal dollars. In the grand scheme of things - a multi-trillion dollar deficit - it's not a huge deal. However, should public tax dollars go to radio programming and television programming? A government-run media is not in keeping with the Constitution of this country.

I am a fan of PBS. I love that they have safe children's programming. I love our local PBS for the British Comedies & Dramas, quirky Canadian comedies, live performances, travel shows, and cooking shows. I would very much miss PBS if they disappeared, and yes, I donate to pledge drives when my budget allows. And I will continue to donate and support them.

I don't listen to NPR. I am Conservative, and will admit to growing tired of the constant Conservative-bashing that permeates the programming... in everything from their game shows to their news coverage.

In the grand scheme of things, $430m isn't a lot of money. I don't care so much that they are being funded by my tax dollars - but I do think they should balance their programming, and be as neutral as possible. Perhaps Limbaugh could host a show!

I also understand that when our economy is this far in the toilet, EVERYTHING must examined. I can only hope that if PBS loses funding, that the fans will step up the donations.

sassy... sassykat122

I agree with some of your opinions JENNY but honestly you continue to put out blogs that are either done in a hurry or you just don't care if you get your facts straight. If you want to sound like a strong, INTELLIGENT woman then you should research a bit more instead of just spinning the facts as you like them. It is not that you are not allowed to have opinions but give the rest of us a little credit. We read the news as well and we know when your spinning half truths!

nonmember avatar Anon

Yes, they should be defunded. Or, Rush's show should be equally funded. The degree of bias is comparable.

bills... billsfan1104

Wow. Again calling conservatives stupid, because they don't agree with some of you.

Can you guys just debate without calling names or calling someone stupid?

Madel... MadelynMc

First of all, billsfan - that's your only argument. I really have no response anymore.

It's laughable to me that people even think there is any sort of agenda on NPR. That makes me really really doubt that any of you have actually listened to any of the programming. I listen to it daily. I'd say at least 70% of the time, they don't even talk politics. I value their programming because my life doesn't revolve around politics and it's nice to listen to news. Like what's going on in the rest of the world, health news, science, interesting tidbits, etc. When they do talk politics, they usually have guests of  opposing views. An objective interviewer asks them questions and allows them to answer (without interruption or heckling) and participate in their own discussion of the issues without really commenting much. So what you end up getting is an adult conversation about the issues instead of one party bashing the other. I literally can't stand the fact that all of our news comes from partisan corporations. I refuse to watch CNN, FOX, MSNBC or even local news. It just infuriates me. I want intelligent discussion, not a regurgitation of the rhetoric.


Madel... MadelynMc

If it takes government funding to keep at least ONE neutral, nonpartisan, objective news source, then I think it's money well spent. Some people might argue that if it's funded by the government, it's propaganda. If you actually listen to the programming, you'll note that on many occassions, NPR exposes government waste and corruption (like the fact that we are actually subsidising Brazillian cotton farmers - I learned about that from NPR because no one else picks up the story). I think at this point in our history, when instead of journalism we get regurgitated information from partisan sources, it is CRUCIAL to have something like NPR. Who are the other news sources accountable to? No one. If NPR steps out of line one way or the other, we have recourse to call them out - like forcing the resignation of Schiller and other involved executives.

If NPR goes away, my head will literally explode. I can't take any more of the news media's ridiculous antics and untruths. I just can't.

nonmember avatar Christine

I like listening to NPR more for the quirky stories, book discussions, and interviews than anything else. I stay out of the (what I consider) drama part of it. I love PBS from its kid shows to its Antique's Road Show :) I think both programs should be operated on listener/viewer donations. I would feel differently if the nation was not in a mound of debt, but with present circumstances as they are, yes, funding needs to be cut. It would be a small cut, but budget cutting has to start somewhere.

Madel... MadelynMc

Or I'll have to completely rely on BBC.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

what Schiller was actually saying was that many CONSERVATIVES had expressed to him that they felt the Tea Party was xenophobic, racist, etc. and that he couldn't say he disagreed.

Typical symantics at play in that statement.  While I agree that there was some editing done to this video, there are plenty of unedited and un-baited statements made by Schiller to support his firing.  The only lack of intelligence I see here is people who think the issue is the editing.

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