Cutting off NPR funds is grossly unfair

The House of Representatives recently voted 228 to 192 to stop federal money from going to National Public Radio. This outrage, supported by all Republicans in South Carolina and Georgia, is designed to stop freedom of speech throughout the nation.

Republicans have used spooks and spies to get sub rosa statements from certain people within the NPR organization. If such statements were, in fact, made, they would be a personal expression -- permitted under our Constitution -- and not a policy statement of NPR.

NPR is one of the few radio broadcasts that air news, local news and public information shows -- including weather alerts -- without commercial interruption. As a regular listener, I can testify that the content is not only unbiased but makes a deliberate effort to show all sides of any matter.

Republicans contend that their motive is to save the government money. Nonsense. The federal funds amount to only $5 million spread across this vast country, which amounts to about $100,000 per state -- a pittance in terms of the total federal budget.

In reality, Republicans point to a few comedy shows -- Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion and the silly Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me -- that from time to time do spoofs of political figures, some Republican and some Democrat. But overall, and in good faith, they cannot show any display of NPR's bias against them.

That's because NPR does not have a bias. True, some workers in the factory may have personal views, but it does not show in the product. If you want proof of this, just listen to NPR for a couple of days. You may be bored or you may be edified -- but you won't find bias.

Tune in and you will find truly fair and mostly interesting programs. If you're like me, you'll find that you will leave your radio dial there, and that takes care of your broadcast day.

Hal Irish

Edgefield, S.C.

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