Last week, we saw NPR blow up over comments made by their president over the Tea Party and their supporters, a very broad brushed attack on all members. This is the same organization that didn’t renew Juan Williams contract over comments that could be seen as similar about Muslims. In my mind, it’s clear that NPR has a political point of view and is somewhat intolerant of others.
So, why do we fund it? If we fund that, shouldn’t we fund XM radio, which clearly has a singular national reach, many points of view, and would be available to anyone, anywhere? In my mind XM, has a unique platform, offering all kinds of content, not left or right, but all, and is available to anyone with access to the sky. In my mind, it is a better platform for public funding because of its availability.
In my world, government shouldn’t fund anything like this, either XM or NPR. Support for NPR could easily be made up privately, and the bulk of their funding comes from private sources anyway. They’re very good at asking for money, they just should ask for a little more. I know I’ve supported them, probably more than most of their ardent supporters.
I believe NPR is a legitimate platform for news and opinion. And, I like the measured way they approach topics, with the ability to parse and nuance.
While valuable, NPR’s time of public funding is past. It will survive. And, completely free of government funding, it will be able to say what it wants, without worry. But, it will have to pay taxes and be subject to the rules of the rest of the world. What a novel concept.