LegalWorks Apostolate - Counsel for a Culture of Life

De-Funding Public Radio

By Stu Nolan

The news that the House of Representatives approved a measure that would de-fund National Public Radio appears at first glance to be a big symbolic victory for conservatives who object to its well documented bias favoring liberal and radical politics. Closer scrutiny indicates that this is probably only a symbolic gesture.

NPR became vulnerable after long-time NPR reporter Juan Williams was forced out apparently due to his frequent appearances on Fox News and comments deemed too insensitive to the feelings of Muslims. Most recently, Ron Schiller, an NPR fundraising executive, was recorded claiming that NPR would be “better off" without taxpayer funding and made comments insulting to conservatives.

Alas, even if the House-passed bill becomes law, it only strips direct taxpayer funding of NPR itself. Many of the NPR-member public radio stations can still receive federal funding. Although the bill prohibits such stations from using those precise funds to NPR in the way of paying membership dues, money is of course fungible so the restriction can probably be overcome with simple bookkeeping maneuvers.

In short, reports of NPR's death are probably being greatly exaggerated.

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