The House GOP is continuing its move to completely strip National Public Radio of its federal funding. Republican congressman Doug Lamborn has introduced a bill that gives public stations the right to take government funds, as long as they don’t buy programs from NPR. Tricky move, Doug. Give cash-strapped nonprofit media a much-needed lifeline, but censor the way they use it.
As anyone knows, public media can’t survive without this type of support. It may be listeners like you who make a difference, but you don’t exactly have the roughly $150 million these days to make up for it, do you?
If the bill passes it’s bad news for NPR as we know it, which means potentially losing programming such as “Latino USA,” “Fresh Air,” “Talk of the Nation” and “This American Life,” which spend considerable time showcasing the stories of minorities, women and the gay community. It’s programming you won’t hear on other networks and it needs to be preserved. In the age of extremist media—when the Glenn Becks of the world get all the attention (and sound bites)—we need it more than ever.
The backlash against NPR came after a media sting in which former NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller criticizes members of the Tea Party. He called them unintelligent, extreme and racist—all stones that have already been cast at the group and, I mean, come on, have been proven to be true just a few times. I know, one shouldn’t judge an entire group based on a few radical members, especially if one represents a media network. But isn’t that the norm these days—for better or worse? On the left, John Stewart has his usual marks on “The Daily Show,” as does Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow. Listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck and you’ll hear the same liberal punching bags criticized time and time again for being socialists—or worse. Beck draws parallels between the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES and Hitler all the time, but where is the Bill to regulate privately owned media like Fox News? Apparently, only when precious Tea Partiers are criticized does Congress get involved.
The Right’s undying defense against this facet of its constituency is so hypocritical its hysterical—how can you say you support this group of mostly working-class Americans and still staunchly defend tax breaks for the super-rich? But I digress…
Preserving the independent voices of our media is so crucial to keeping social justice discourse in the public consciousness and—more importantly—protecting free speech.
The House is reviewing the bill today in an “emergency” session and taking it to the floor for a vote on Thursday. Take action by contacting your representative and telling them what you think.