Government Spending

Dem Congressman in Fundraising Pitch: NPR Last, Best Hope Against Republicans

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They [Republicans] know NPR plays a vital role in providing quality news programming – from rural radio stations to in-depth coverage of foreign affairs. If the Republicans had their way, we'd only be left with the likes of Glenn Beck, Limbaugh and Sarah Palin to dominate the airwaves….

Arguably, the only surprising thing about that quote is its source: A fundraising appeal by Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who is the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Here's Juan Williams, canned some time ago by NPR, writing why this is the reason he is now in favor of ending taxpayer subsidies to the network:

With that statement Congressman Israel made the case better than any  Republican critic that NPR is radio by and for liberal Democrats. He is openly asking liberal Democrats to give money to liberal Democrats in Congress so they can funnel federal dollars into news radio programs designed to counter and defeat conservative Republican voices.

Rep. Israel has unintentionally endorsed every conservative complaint about NPR as a liberal mouthpiece.

Whole thing here.

Hat Tip: Patrick Gavin of Politico.

I agree wholeheartedly with folks ranging from Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to liberal bellyachers that the fight over NPR, PBS, and CPB is chump change when it comes to the La Brea tar pits that is the fiscal deficit and all that. And I do think there's something pathetic about a GOP house that rushes through an anti-public-broadcasting bill but essentially fiddles as the federal government spends more and more money, etc. But it's also true that there's no reason not to cut stuff simply because it's small.

Some recent Reason coverage on the most recent flap.

And here's a recent Reason.tv vid on the debt ceiling question:

For more info on debt ceiling go here.

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  1. NPR should hire Williams back just so they can fire him again.

  2. Rep. Israel has unintentionally endorsed every conservative complaint about NPR as a liberal mouthpiece.

    Screw you, Williams! It was intentional!

  3. You could also read that comment not as saying that NPR would provide a liberal alternative to Beck et al., but that it simply provides a more objective source of news which counters and is an alternative to the plethora of less objective sources out there.

    1. that it simply provides a more objective source of news which counters and is an alternative to the plethora of less objective sources out there.

      LULZ! Wait. You mean you typed that with a straight face? LULZ! Oh Margaret, that’s the best laugh I’ll probably have all day!

      1. I understand you don’t agree, I’m saying this is likely what the Congresscritter was getting at.

        1. I’m saying this is likely what the Congresscritter was getting at.

          The Congresscum needs to his head out of his ass.

          1. + “get”. Sorry, I was still laughing at your previous inane remark. Moar Coffee!

            1. Add another “s”, unless you meant “Congress cum”.

              Ewwww.

      2. I wouldn’t say that NPR is unbiased, but do you really want to say that they are less objective than Beck, Rush or Palin?

    2. So liberal = objective?

      The problem with the MSM is that they actually think they are objective. The worse reporters are the ones who think they are objective professionals when in fact they are just spouting their own opinions and don’t even try to look at other opinions because they know they are right.

      1. Ah, the conservative critique of the goal of objectivity in journalism.

        We are all postmodernists now.

        1. I didn’t say you can’t have objectivity as a goal, its the claim that MSM and reporters have achieved objectivity and so they don’t have to look beyond what they already believe

      2. That’s Democrat debating tactics 101. If you frame the debate so that your side is the only one with reasonable positions, you avoid having to support your opinions with facts (which often show your side is full of shit). See also “the reality based party”.

        1. Which is pretty easy to do when the other side openly and proudly rejects objectivity as a value. Up to and including rejecting entire fields of science that don’t support their political aims.

          1. Is that the kind of thing one hears while playing footsie at the Adult Table?

          2. Which is pretty easy to do when the other side openly and proudly rejects objectivity as a value.

            That’s why I listen to NPR, they at least have the decency lie to me about their objectivity.

            1. Tony is soooo gullible, he acually believes his side never lies.

              Ever.

      3. I agree, DJF. Socrates said that the first step in gaining wisdom is realizing that you have gaps in your learning. MNG can’t reach this first step.

        1. Ah! I got it –

          unknown unknowns

    3. I believe you meant “placenta.”

    4. The problem with that interpretation is that there is plenty of down-the-middle news reporting on radio these days. What Israel is noting is that NPR’s editorial stance is leftist and is a counterbalance to Rush, Hannity, Levin, Beck et alia. And he’s right. I just object to paying for it.

      And does Sarah Palin have a talk show I’m not aware of?

      1. I look forward to Congress defunding NPR. In the meanwhile, I find poetic justice in Israel being NPR’s last hope.

        1. Ohhhh….+1

    5. You could also read that comment not as saying that NPR would provide a liberal alternative to Beck

      And why should the federal government concern itself with subsidizing alternative points of view to anything?

      1. B/c a well informed citizenry is critical for a constitutional democracy? Wacky idea some dead white guys had a while back…

        1. Oh, and without the government picking sides and putting its thumb on the scales, the citizenry can’t be “well-informed.”

          I suppose a State radio and TV network is one of those “Commerce Clause” deals, then?

        2. B/c a well informed citizenry is critical for a constitutional democracy? Wacky idea some dead white guys had a while back…

          And we rely on the federal government to inform us by proxy news services they subsidize?

    6. How are Beck, et al sources of news? The correct comparison is between ABC and NPR, not Beck and NPR — unless one is insinuating that NPR is a counterweight to those guys, which would make it less an objective provider of news and more a liberal bastion attempting to provide “balance”. IOW, exactly the point made by Gillespe above.

  4. But why does everything come back to a discussion about Israel on the intertubes?

    1. Insanity!!

  5. The NPR funding brouhaha has got to be the most idiotic red/blue spittle-fest diversion yet.

    Look motherfuckers, if NPR is defunded, then nothing will fucking change, can you get that through thick partisan skulls? N-O-T-H-I-N-G

    NPR is >90% funded by charities, foundations, and listeners the evil republicans can defund it, but tommorow they will still be on the air. You won’t even notice it.

    Also—>

    The government funds that NPR actually receives is so infinitesimal in comparison to the wel/warfare state that cutting it is all but meaningless, a gesture of annoyance to the other side.
    ———————–

    But, no let’s spend barrels of electrons taking about this stupid shit, so that John and Minge have another reason to fill up threads with their partisan bullshit.

  6. Never really thought about it in that sense before.

    http://www.real-privacy.it.tc

  7. it simply provides a more objective source of news which counters and is an alternative to the plethora of less objective sources out there.

    “Agrees with me” not same as “more objective”.

    1. I generally find it to be a pretty good indicator for intelligence, though.

  8. If you think NPR is biased in the same way FOX News is biased, then you are an idiot. But what a clever way for radical right-wing politics to insinuate itself into mainstream discourse: just claim real news is something that must be “balanced” out, as if it were equally biased on the other extreme.

    1. “If you think NPR is biased in the same way FOX News is biased, then you are an idiot.”

      And if you believe they aren’t, then you are an abject moron. Gee, that was easy!

    2. just claim real news is something that must be “balanced” out, as if it were equally biased on the other extreme.

      Isn’t that the argument the federal-funding-for-NPR boosters are making?

  9. If you think NPR is biased in the same way FOX News is biased, then you are an idiot.

    Tony, you realize you are calling Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) an idiot, yes?

    1. Um, no. He in no way made the claim that it was the liberal equivalent to FOX News in that quote.

  10. And Juan Williams doesn’t get to claim to be a journalist if he intends to spend the rest of his career up on the cross FOX News erected for him.

    1. What ? Now Fox has unfairly dismissed Williams, too ?

  11. Summation of the argument for federal funding of NPR:

    Without a state mouthpiece, we’ll be uninformed!

    1. I think there’s plenty of evidence in this country that corporate news will leave us woefully uninformed. We ARE woefully uninformed as a country, and it’s not because of an overbearing state media.

      1. We are woefully uninformed as a country despite NPR’s availability. For that matter, Euros (despite the stereotypes) are woefully uninformed despite their state-owned media. Perhaps it is not so vital or influential?

        1. I think Tony is saying, if we DID have an overbearing state media, they would tellus The Truth.

          Such a gullible little tool, that Tony.

  12. In an NPR survey last year, 37 percent of listeners described themselves as liberal or very liberal, 25 percent as middle of the road, and 28 percent as conservative or very conservative.

    Not that listenership is a direct measure of bias, of course. But I wonder what the similar breakdown is for Fox news?

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