A little more to the left

Political contributions underscore long-held leanings of NPR

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Republicans will take control of only one chamber of Congress in January, so it's unlikely they'll be able to make a dent in taxpayer funding of National Public Radio.

A lot of folks are questioning taxpayer support for the public network after it unceremoniously dumped commentator Juan Williams for expressing genuine fear of flying with overtly Muslim passengers.

The truth is, many believe Williams was ripe for firing from NPR because of his appearances and his often moderate views on the Fox News Channel.

The notion of defunding NPR is understandable; certainly it should be asked whether it makes sense to require taxpayers to support state-funded media when the choices of private media have exploded in recent decades.

But regardless of your stance on the funding, perhaps we can all agree on the need for more accountability and balance at NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Indeed, in the wake of the Williams affair, National Review magazine investigated the top management of NPR and discovered that it is nearly uniformly liberal -- and contributes money to overwhelmingly Democratic and left-wing causes.

This is not a surprise to those of us who have long known about the pervasive liberal bias at NPR -- even liberals roundly criticized NPR for firing Williams. But it is nonetheless an awakening to see the naked evidence: of 48 board members on whom information was obtained, writes Matthew Shaffer of the National Review Institute, "nearly all have demonstrably liberal political sympathies, with heavy support for the Democratic Party, pro-abortion-rights groups and environmental activism in particular."

By way of example, Shaffer notes that Antoine van Agtmael, chairman of the NPR Foundation, a fund-raising arm, "is a trustee of a liberal think tank, the Brookings Institution. He donated $1,000 to Obama for America in 2008, $2,000 to Kerry in 2004, and $1,000 each to Hillary Clinton and Terry Liermann in 2000. That's $5,000 -- every penny to Democrats."

The list goes on and on and on, with a few token exceptions.

There is no written policy requiring upper management at NPR to be liberal, but there might as well be: "De facto," Shaffer writes, "they have sure done a good job making their (board) members indistinguishable from that of an openly partisan organization."

That's not right, particularly since tax monies are involved.

Again, you have to wonder whether the government should be in the domestic broadcasting business anyway. But at the very least, Washington should send a clear message to NPR to seek a political balance in its management, in its programming and -- considering that Williams was sacked while liberal flamethrower Nina Totenberg has been kept on -- its personnel policies.

A little accountability and fairness isn't too much to ask.

It needs to be demanded.

Comments (63) Add comment
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806
Points
Barry Paschal 11/08/10 - 11:50 pm
0
0
Someone should attempt to

Someone should attempt to explain why taxpayers are funding any broadcast operation - NPR or PBS. The content doesn't matter; they should all compete in the free market - i.e., no government funding, period.

robaroo
929
Points
robaroo 11/09/10 - 12:55 am
0
0
NPR does favor the Democrats

NPR does favor the Democrats from time to time. However, it is the only station that usually presents both the Republican and Democratic sides without too much shading. Compared to Fox and CNN, it's about as close to balanced between the Democrats and Republicans as you can get.

Like most of the media, they don't report on any of the third parties' points of view. The Chronicle is guilty of that one too.

The National Review (and the Augusta Chronicle) are both heavily biased to the right. This editorial is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black.

dashiel
176
Points
dashiel 11/09/10 - 01:42 am
0
0
FOX presents top-quality

FOX presents top-quality network programming, but has its news division ever produced a significant investigative series? Just asking.

faithson
5901
Points
faithson 11/09/10 - 02:02 am
0
0
PBS and NPR work on the

PBS and NPR work on the ombudsman system. Any time you feel that your foot has been stepped on you can contact him/her and complain. By law they have to address your complaint. Now if Faux and MSNBC had the same system I know of a few pun dents who would be out of a job. Oh yea, that free market compete thing, always good to see the lowest common denominator (free market) come out on top. Look at the network programming these days and tell me it isn't so..............

gijoe7898
0
Points
gijoe7898 11/09/10 - 02:41 am
0
0
There is no defendable reason

There is no defendable reason for NPR to exist on the taxpayer's dime. Forget Fox and the other networks. Please, someone defend why tax payers should be funding a partisan TV network? Or funding ANY TV network?

ReformedRepub
0
Points
ReformedRepub 11/09/10 - 03:56 am
0
0
God save us from Republicans.

God save us from Republicans.

Jackson
0
Points
Jackson 11/09/10 - 06:34 am
0
0
I love PBS. Maybe it's

I love PBS. Maybe it's because I like Antiques Roadshow and Carolina Stories. I love NPR because of Car Talk ,What do you know and Garrison Keillor. I could care less about their pollitics. I myself send them money every year. We need an educational channel. Not for the kids. Most of them couldn't care less about learning. I on the other hand enjoy learning new things but I'm at the point where I don't care anymore. I'll let the politicians figure it out.

orgpsych
0
Points
orgpsych 11/09/10 - 06:59 am
0
0
Yep, those pesky LIBERALS.

Yep, those pesky LIBERALS. They should all be shot and let good old solid American CONSERVATIVES take over, just like those people over at Fox. Of course, we'll just look the other way when the funding for those stations as the result of a "free market" system actually comes from terror organizations and/or those who fund them (like Fox's second largest shareholder). I am sure there will be a tiny FOX logo in the corner of the Manhattan mosque.

Uh-oh. Did I write that out loud? Oops.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/09/10 - 07:27 am
0
0
All perspectives political

All perspectives political and social on the NPR/PBS system is as evenly balanced as those on The View.
All historical references and information concerning historic figures are from the perspective of the extreme progressives.
All references concerning the environment and "scams" relating to the environment are only portrayed from the extreme progressive perspective on NPR/PBS.
Whenever the NPR/PBS system has a conservative on one of their shows, he's balanced by at least four radical leftists and a moderate.
CNN has a radical left perspective (after firing everyone that dared express any conservative perspective at any time in their life)...NPR/PBS is to the left of CNN.
When Bush appointed a manager for PBS that would show a more balanced perspective on the network, the radical left went nuts (led by CAIR) and used ALL of their political influence to get a mega-liberal back in the job.
Since I began watching NPR/PBS in the mid-seventies, it has moved from the extreme progressive perspective to just a little further leftward.

By the same token, they're not really that different from the other broadcast networks.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/09/10 - 07:31 am
0
0
orgpsyche, why do lefties

orgpsyche, why do lefties always project their position on others? We all know CAIR is a big sponsor of NPR/PBS and they're the promoters of the ground zero mosque.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/09/10 - 07:35 am
0
0
Good point, Jackson. (except

Good point, Jackson. (except for Garrison Keillor).
NPR/PBS offers shows no one else would consider.
The hard political and social tilt is the sticking point. Why should taxpayers continue to support this perspective when the vast majority of taxpayers have the opposite point of view and NEVER see the conservative perspective presented in a positive light?

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/09/10 - 07:36 am
0
0
LOL, robaroo, "NPR does favor

LOL, robaroo, "NPR does favor the Democrats from time to time."

Only when it's on the air.

Rhetor
1160
Points
Rhetor 11/09/10 - 07:42 am
0
0
NPR has an edge once in a

NPR has an edge once in a while, sure. And they should not have fired the guy. But they do report in-depth stories that Fox, NBC, etc. never report. Those few Americans who want actual information still find NPR useful. The fact that the ACES would like the government to censor a network with which they disagree is a rather frightening repudiation of the 1st Amendment, is it not?

wizzardx1
0
Points
wizzardx1 11/09/10 - 07:51 am
0
0
Does anybody know which 4

Does anybody know which 4 years of hussein's childhood was spent in Indonesia?

corgimom
45023
Points
corgimom 11/09/10 - 08:09 am
0
0
How about the concept that

How about the concept that NPR has the right to hire and fire whoever they want?

We watch Lawrence Welk, the Gaithers, and all of those old nostalgic music shows, along with Antique Roadshow and Carolina Stories on PBS.

If that's not conservative, I don't know what is.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 11/09/10 - 08:16 am
0
0
I turn on the radio not the

I turn on the radio not the TV. I turn on NPR not WGAC. I find that many programs on NPR like PRI's "The World" largely tow the official U.S. government line. Neal Conan on NRP's "Talk of the Nation" is a shill for the Establishment. NRP is supported by listeners and by corporations. Government funds have been increasingly cut for years. I favor real public TV and radio that is taxpayer funded. Raise taxes to pay for domestic programs like this and stop spending this country into bankruptcy with unnecessary, unwinnable wars and a bloated Pentagon budget. The quality of life in this country is on the decline because our priorities are perverted.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/09/10 - 08:28 am
0
0
Corgimom, I agree with the

Corgimom, I agree with the last half of your last sentence.(7:09)

Riverman1
106529
Points
Riverman1 11/09/10 - 08:32 am
0
0
NPR is the American

NPR is the American equivalent of Izvestia, the old Soviet government run newspaper.

Techfan
6464
Points
Techfan 11/09/10 - 08:46 am
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0
"Since I began watching

"Since I began watching NPR/PBS in the mid-seventies". I'll have to admit, watching NPR could get boring.

Michael Ryan
962
Points
Michael Ryan 11/09/10 - 08:50 am
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0
"We need an educational

"We need an educational channel."

That would be another thing all together, if that's all CPB was. But with a documentable far-left viewpoint, it's more than education. That becomes indoctrination. All we're asking for is balance, and to stop subtly politicking on our dime.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 11/09/10 - 09:23 am
0
0
Michael Ryan, CPB does not

Michael Ryan, CPB does not have a "documentable far-left viewpoint." I think it represents the American Establishment. If it is left, it is certainly no further left than center-left. Calling CPB "far-left" says more about your right-wing extremist viewpoint than it does about documentable viewpoints of CPB. Although CPB is funded majority funded by corporate sponsors and viewers, you want all public funding for the one media outlet that promotes culture and the arts to be cut because you don't like the political views expressed in their news programs and documentaries. Yours is the radical viewpoint. What's the next item on your hit list? Public education? Public transit? Pubic highways?

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/09/10 - 09:40 am
0
0
Kegbrat, I, too listen to

Kegbrat, I, too listen to NPR. The extreme perspective of the network is reflected by the ridiculous version of what lefties think conservative is. Fair and balanced? I guess from the point of view of the far left, it's thought to be.
As a "public" sponsored entity CPB shouldn't always be so leftist. An occasional conservative perspective, provided by someone who knows what it is to be conservative, would be new.
The AC is privately owned, not taxpayer sponsored.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/09/10 - 09:42 am
0
0
LOL, Cain. If you think it's

LOL, Cain. If you think it's centrist, that's good evidence of the far left slant.

Techfan
6464
Points
Techfan 11/09/10 - 10:01 am
0
0
Its owner, on the other hand,

Its owner, on the other hand, gets plenty of taxpayer sponsorship.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/09/10 - 09:51 am
0
0
So do you. What's your point?

So do you. What's your point?

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 11/09/10 - 09:54 am
0
0
Somebody please end the
Unpublished

Somebody please end the confusion: Is the total taxpayer funding 3%, or as much as 4% of their budget?!

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/09/10 - 09:55 am
0
0
fd, are you including the

fd, are you including the equiptment, permits to operate and the competition restrictions? Are you including support personel wages and benefits? Are you asking about the TOTAL operating costs?

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/09/10 - 09:57 am
0
0
If the support is only 3% or

If the support is only 3% or 4%, CPB won't even miss the pittance.

writer
305
Points
writer 11/09/10 - 09:59 am
0
0
I just wish the AC editorial

I just wish the AC editorial page would do research on their editorial topics and then inform the readership up front of the facts involved before giving their opinion. Numerous news sources have brought out the fact that NPR receives no direct governmental funding for its operations. Local stations receive some governmental funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and smaller stations usually get more of that funding. So, if Congress cut funding, it would be local public radio stations that lose funding, stations like the South Carolina and Georgia stations, which would be a shame given the scarcity of choice in radio listening in this area.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 11/09/10 - 10:00 am
0
0
Yes. I understand their
Unpublished

Yes. I understand their budget is approximately $188 million dollars per year, with 3% to 4% attributable to taxpayer funding. If this figure is erroneous, I'd like to know.

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