House Cuts NPR Funding
In 2008 NPR programming was heard by 10% of adults on a weekly basis and showed a 10-year growth rate in audience share of 45%.
The House voted to strip National Public Radio’s federal funding, a move that followed the release of a “sting” video showing an NPR executive criticizing the Republican Party and saying the station didn’t need millions of dollars in federal money.
|Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)|
The measure passed 228-192, along party lines, after a vigorous debate over the merits of public radio and the need for the government to reduce spending in the wake of a $1.3 trillion debt and $14 trillion deficit that threaten the economy.
“The object of this bill is to get NPR out of the taxpayer’s pocket,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. “It is time for us to be good stewards and save the money of the American taxpayer.”
NPR receives about $90 million in federal funding annually, but the Congressional Budget Office calculated that the net savings from defunding the network would be zero. Democrats seized on the CBO analysis and ridiculed the GOP for trying to silence popular public radio programs like “Prairie Home Companion” and “Car Talk” for their own political reasons.
“This legislation is no more than an ideological attack on public radio masquerading as a fiscal issue,” said Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.
Democrats said the bill would hurt local public radio stations by preventing them from using federal funding to purchase NPR programing or pay their dues to NPR.
Republicans have long been critical of public broadcasting and accuse it of having a liberal slant. Many felt their suspicions were confirmed when an undercover video produced by conservative activist James O’Keefe showed NPR executive Ron Schiller calling the Tea Party movement “scary” and “racist” at a meeting with a potential donor who claimed to be from a Muslim organization that supports Sharia law. Both the donor and organization were fake, part of a sting operation set up by O’Keefe. Critics claim O’Keefe edited the video in a way that misrepresented what Schiller was saying.
Both Schiller and NPR CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation) were forced out following the video’s release.
“I think the image that we have seen on the videos tells us something about the internal culture of NPR,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
Earlier this year, Republicans were angered by NPR’s firing of commentator Juan Williams after he said he feared boarding an airplane with someone dressed in Muslim garb.
Republicans are also highly critical of the salaries of public broadcasting executives and used that to bolster their argument that taxpayer funds for their operations should be cut.
|Protestors Say to End NPR Federal Funding|
One former NPR president earned $1.2 million while the president of the Public Broadcasting System earned $632,000.
On Tuesday, the House voted to cut $50 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, from which NPR draws some funding.
Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., told The Washington Examiner on Thursday that Democrats who control the Senate would block House attempts to cut NPR and PBS funding. President Obama said Thursday he opposes the funding cut.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said voters could have the final say if defunding becomes law.
Republicans, he said, “are going to run into a razor blade-sharp reaction from the American public as they find that in place of ‘Car Talk’ and ‘All Things Considered,’ there is radio silence.”