Even NPR-Loving Liberals Should Applaud Trump's Plan to Kill Federal Funding for Public Broadcasting

The media landscape has shifted in a way that's made government subsidies less necessary than ever.


If the Trump Administration gets its way in ending federal funding for public broadcasting (see the budget proposal out today), it wouldn't spell the end of NPR, PBS, or the radio and television programs that many Americans cherish. The biggest impact would be on rural stations that rely on government dollars for a large share of their operating budgets. Several reporters have noted that these rural stations "serve" communities that skew heavily Republican, claiming irony. "[D]efunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting," the Washington Post's Callum Borchers writes, "would mean hurting the local TV and radio stations that a whole lot of Republican voters watch and listen to."

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We don't actually know how many Republican voters (or anyone for that matter) watch and listen to NPR or PBS in these rural communities because the networks keep that information private. If saving the rural stations is the main reason to maintain federal funding, don't taxpayers have a right to see multi-year ratings data? In a press release responding to the budget cuts, PBS merely cites its old talking point that public broadcasting costs each citizen just $1.35 per year. Just because something's comparatively cheap doesn't make it worth buying.

The notion of a television station "serving" a community is outdated. You don't hear Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu boasting that they "serve" one area of the country or another. As I argued in a recent video, the mean reason to end federal funding to these stations is that the media landscape looks nothing like it did in 1967, when Lyndon Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act:

When the Public Broadcasting Act became law, maintaining a network of regional stations was the only way to insure that every American household had access to public television and radio content. Today, this decentralized system isn't necessary because it's possible to stream or download NPR or PBS content from anywhere in the world. As audiences moves online, the regional stations supported by the federal government are becoming unnecessary.

Watch the video:

NEXT: The Community Development Block Grant Program Is Awful and Should Be Cut

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  1. You don’t really get what it means that Trump is a Republican, do you?

    1. It means a total budget cut of about one quarter of one percent, and that the red team instead of the blue team is in favor of raising the debt limit.

      1. And the Debt Limit has been raised something like 100+ times in the past few generations… EVERY time the Debt approaches the Previous Limit.

        Conclusion: stop talking about ‘raising the Debt Limit’… it’s as stupid as talking about the DOW breaking some kind of “Barrier” when its value approaches a number with a three or more zeroes on the right end of it.

  2. Concern trolling by liberals by saying trump is hurting republican voters as if they care about them

    Also as jim points out you dont know who it really serves

  3. How many people in rural areas are actually watching over the air broadcast TV?

    In my experience, the switch to digital made reception at the edges much worse (at least with analog you could watch channels that had marginal signals).

    Public radio is often the only straight news on the radio. But people can donate if they like it. And doesn’t NPR have a huge endowment? Maybe they could subsidize local stations that don’t get help from the states they are in.

    1. Do you know who else had a huge endowment?

      1. Your mom?

      2. $park?’s mom?

    2. Per the wapo article pbs and npr dont get much at all to begin with like 1 percent from the corp.

      So the getting rid of big bird seems to be a lie if this was cut. Purely emotional hyperbole

      1. getting rid of big bird seems to be a lie

        Especially when you consider that Sesame Street is on HBO now.

      2. Big Bird? Oh, do you mean that HBO show?

    3. And doesn’t NPR have a huge endowment?

      It depends. When people complain about how much money they get from the government (generally in connection with pointing out the obvious and virulent pro-Team Blue bias), they have a huge endowment and hardly get any money from the government at all.

      Threaten to cut that funding and their endowment shrinks to barely-noticeable and they will inevitably be destroyed if even a little bit of it is taken away.

    4. Maybe they could subsidize local stations that don’t get help from the states they are in.

      You mean spend their own money? That’s crazy talk.

  4. Public radio is often the only straight news on the radio.


    1. I think he means in the sense of “news-as-such” as opposed to four-hour blocks of ranting extremists, rather than “straight-shooting, without bias.”

      1. All news is biased, not just by what they say but by the topics they choose to discuss or ignore.

      2. “… rather than.. without bias.” ???

        You’ve never listened to Public Radio, have you…?

        It’s about as ‘unbiased’ as…. sorry, I can’t think of a horrible enough example for comparison.

  5. I’ve been listening to NPR ever since the conservative talkshow hosts like Sam Malone and others went full Trumpista (or Fascist, whichever is more accurate) yet the ridiculous sob stories about lack of government funding for this or that or about the coming apocalypse if those heartless industries are deregulated, which are too interspaced between a few interesting and thoughtful stories, make me think that a) they haven’t learned ANYTHING and that b) I should just stick with learning news by reading clever memes and watching Youtube channels, just like everyone else in this fucking brave new world.

    1. I should just stick with learning news by reading clever memes and watching Youtube channels, just like everyone else in this fucking brave new world.

      Where else would you learn such handy terms as ‘Trumpista’ or ‘Marxian’?

    2. Yeah I have been listening more to NPR too, since if I’m going to be labeled as an open-borders cosmotarian, I might as well fit the part a little bit better 🙂

      I do find their investigative reporting segments to be quite good. Of course the recommendations are always more government, more rules, more statism. That is just who they are. But they do tell a good story and reveal some lesser-known injustices. For instance this one. I would never have known about it unless for NPR’s reporting on it. The most shameful part is how federal prosecutors railroaded the defendants to give false confessions. I wish there was more like this on the right, so that there could be a bit of balance.

      I should just stick with learning news by reading clever memes and watching Youtube channels, just like everyone else in this fucking brave new world.

      It dawned on me the other day, one reason why so many people are pissed off at the MSM is because so many people *have* been getting their news from Facebook memes and Youtube vdeos, which have been telling them comforting narratives, and are angry at the MSM for intruding into their ideological bubble safe-spaces. Which is a little bit frightening to contemplate.

      1. Your last paragraph ….not sure if serious…..

      2. Do you watch cnn? Or read the Wapo?

        It is a lot of hysteria me thinks due to a) 24 7 coverage and b) all the competition for clicks

        They need sensational quantity to get clicks as opposed to timely quality because otherwise all these other outlets will scoop them

        Cnn became particularly bad around that mh 730 flight, riots and ebola to name a few

        The wapo editorial board would frequently trot out the trump is basically close to hitler tripe

        1. Same with fox news and msnbc. The ny times even if lib used to be ok. But they are trending away from news to pants shitting commentary

          1. I don’t believe you read those newspapers or much of anything else.

    3. That’s funny – I’ve been listening to NPR less because they’ve become just another 24/7 Trump outrage network. Marketplace is still worth listening to for the most part, but the rest is a wasteland of hysteria and advocacy journalism. It’s immigrants, refugees and Russians all the way down. Although, interestingly, they’ve recently discovered the desirability of free markets and global trade.

      And yes, you could certainly describe their programming as non-stop commercials for government spending and regulation, but that’s nothing new.

      1. Also see matt welchs article today about cnn shitting their pants at the trump budget

      2. That’s all fair criticism of NPR. But I still think they are at least as good as any other major national news outlet. Which isn’t saying much, but here we are.

        1. No doubt. They are the worst source, except for all the others.

  6. What purpose does PBS/NPR serve other than to disseminate progressive propaganda? Their idea of ideological balance on the old McNeil/Lehrer Report was to have David Gergen act as the conservative. I.e., the guy who went on to become a Clinton flack. Their “business report” idea of an objective economist was Robert Reich, the dwarf “labor economist” who went on to become Clinton’s Secretary of Labor.

    1. Of course, that’s not as bad as ABC “News” pushing George Stephanopoulos as a straight journalist after he was a Clinton flack.

    2. And 1) their idea of ‘expert business journalists’ is Business Insider; 2) their idea of a conservative is David Brooks.

  7. The biggest benefit of cutting government funding is NPR will no longer have any vested interest in getting one team elected over the other.

    NPR might actually start to represent the actual audience constituency rather than the political one.

    1. It does. Know many redneck Bubbas who chat about what they heard on Fresh Air over their lattes?

      1. So when you helping me out since you are well oh noble one?

        1. After all this time you still think this retarded nonsense carries a profound point about political theory.

          1. Um what? You said you were compassionate…put up or shut up

            Being generous with others money to make yourself feel good is lazy

            1. When did I say I was compassionate?

              1. You have patted yourself on the back for wanting to help others

                Why wont you help? Were you lying?

      2. Tony, you are just so tolerant and inclusive the mind boggles.

        1. Cry on someone else snowflake, I never claimed to be those things.

          1. I thought you were a tolerant and loving liberal

            1. Nope, I just support a sane system of government instead of a baby-talk asinine one, but it’s good to know that you seem to think being a libertarian means you’re required to be an intolerant asshole. Nice selling point.

              1. What would this sane system of govt be? Can you point out how it isnt?

                Modern liberalism is about treating people like babies so your post make sense. I have to obey your orders and ask your permission?

                Why do liberals want no limit to size and scope of govt?

            2. Tony is most certainly not, that is why he wants the government to force him to be kind and altruistic.

  8. “…the mean reason…”

    Freudian slip?

  9. The muppets will gladly pay pbs or children’s television workshop for the airtime if pbs or ctw would simply ask.

  10. Your Netflix / Hulu / Youtube argument is VERY flawed. Many rural areas have spotty internet service at best. Plus, if you are living day-to-day to make ends meet, you aren’t paying $100 a month for internet service PLUS $15 monthly for video services. You hang an antenna up and you watch what you can get.

    Not everyone has a 6 figure salary writing for a website out of a trendy apartment building in the big city.

    1. PBS streaming channel on Roku is free if you have internet.

      Directv basic service is pretty cheap.

    2. Rural areas also have spotty TV coverage. Beyond about 60 miles from the transmitter you often need to start going to extreme lengths to get a signal.

      My old man is 60 miles from most of his stations transmitters and even though his house is on a hill and he has an 80ft antenna tower and a big antenna, he still has issues with signal sometimes. He lives in the gloriously flat land of Illinois so his problems are not related to hills but distance.

      Rural folks who want TV get satellite, and for PBS it would be far cheaper to have a single PBS broadcast sent up to Dish/DirecTV and back down rather than keep hundreds of Rural PBS transmitters online.

  11. Yesterday on NPR in my neck of the woods, they had on some batshit insane woman babbling about how rivers have a “right to flow,” and how human activity infringes on that river’s rights. She was fucking dead fucking serious, and so was her interviewer. What the fucking fuck.

    1. We need a safe space here stat!

    2. And I listened, for a while, to an NPR interviewer Desperately try to keep rewording his questions in such a way to get the interviewee to sound like a Bad Guy. He never quit, despite the interviewee’s repeated statements of his real position and opinions on the subject at hand.

      But hey, they’re always “fair and balanced”, right? Yep, as much as pretty much any MSM outlet is today, which is to say, None.

  12. “…the mean reason to end federal funding…” Do you mean the “main” reason?

    “..was the only way to insure that every American household…” It’s “ensure” unless LBJ got it wrong, which wouldn’t surprise me.

    If I re-up my subscription can you guys afford an editor?

    Peace out,
    The Grammar Fascist

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