A. Barton Hinkle on Why Public Radio Is for Moochers


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Spring is here, which can only mean one thing: the public radio pledge drive. You've heard it before. The fundraisers' points all revolve around the theme of what a wonderfully valuable service public radio provides: While other media are cutting back on coverage, toeing a partisan line, or selling out to the sleazy dollar of sensationalism, you need a voice you can trust to bring you in-depth coverage of the stories that matter. That sort of guff.

But the pledge drive also reveals an important fact about our world, writes A. Barton Hinkle. And that fact is this: Public-radio listeners are moochers. Brazen, shameless welfare kings and queens, sponging off the generosity of others. Not all of them, mind you. A small percentage contribute. But the vast majority are—how to put this gently?—good-for-nothing, deadbeat, leeching, parasitic, freeloading scroungers.