I'm a conservative and I love NPR. I can't help myself. It's intelligent, meaningful and unique. Sure, I roll my eyes occasionally whenever I hear those Very Serious stories about, say, the Grim Endangerment of a Rare Species of...Rolly-Polly. But to be honest, I'll take those stories over the heart-pounding, end-of-the-world yelling that takes place on some of the more popular conservative talk shows.
I think what really bothers me about defunding NPR is that it will disproportionately affect local stations. These member stations rely on federal subsidies and will probably go dark if funding is removed. That's unfair to Americans living in smaller, perhaps more rural markets. Having access to NPR programming makes for better-informed citizens.
Many developed nations have subsidized public broadcasting. The U.S. spends less than $1.50 a year per capita on it, compared with $30-$130 in other nations.
According to research done by the Christian Science Monitor:
In countries with strong public media systems, such as virtually all of western Europe, public knowledge about government and international affairs is substantially higher than in countries dominated by commercial media, such as the United States. This holds true across a population’s spectrum of education, income, and race and ethnicity.
Sure, NPR has a bias. I really think that's a moot point because commercial media has a bias, too. Bias should not be the single determining factor for removing funding. Removing access to an alternate viewpoint is, I think, harmful.
Frankly, I'm glad my tax dollars subsidize sober-minded, serious reporting and not flashy, attention-grabbing, cage-fighting commercial news.
I think a lot of conservatives like to kick NPR around because NPR sorta epitomizes the "liberal elite" viewpoint--or so we say. But what has always made America great is the robust debate between opposing ideologies. I say we need to keep NPR around if only because we need that dog in the fight.
And proving that NPR executives are boneheaded idiots is irrelevant. Yes, human beings are (gasp!) human beings and they say and do and believe stupid things. When the head fund-raiser for NPR said he thought Christians, Republicans and Tea-Partiers were gun-toting racists, I thought that was funny. There are some gun-toting racists among us! Still, Ron Schiller should have lost his job--and he did.
But defunding NPR entirely? Eh. That strikes me as attempting to settle a political score instead of looking out for the welfare of average Americans like myself who appreciate their daily dose of Morning Edition.
And anyway, if there were a liberal equivalent of James O'Keefe, I'm sure we'd be learning a bunch more uncomfortable truths about our favorite little conservative super-stars.
I mean, this could be a wild guess, but I think liberals know how to work hidden cameras, too.
We conservatives better watch our backs.