Time to pull plug on NPR public funding

Freedom New Mexico

Taxpayers should fire National Public Radio by demanding that Congress defund it. NPR and other divisions of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are mostly funded by private donations anyway, and it is time they go commercial or rely entirely on private-sector donations.

NPR fired Juan Williams last year after he shared, for the sake of intellectual discourse, an irrational fear that comes over him when Muslims in religious regalia board a plane he’s on. We get it. NPR is so ethnically sensitive, so pure in its dedication to multiculturalism, that it won’t even tolerate an honest dialogue about common social fears that should be aired and resolved.

Ron Schiller, while serving as president of the NPR Foundation and senior vice president for development, said this about the Williams debacle:

“In all of the uproar for example around Juan Williams, what NPR did I’m very proud of,” Schiller said. “What NPR stood for is nonracist, nonbigoted, straightforward telling of the news.”

Schiller was talking to two men he believed were fundamentalist Muslims — Amir Malik and Ibrahim Kasaam. The men pretended they were members of a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood. They met Schiller to discuss their possible $5 million donation to NPR. In truth, the men were citizen journalists conducting an undercover sting on Schiller at Washington’s Cafe Milano. As a result of the sting, Schiller and his boss, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation to Ron), have resigned in disgrace.

While schmoozing the donors, Ron Schiller held nothing back. If they wanted anti-Semitism, he was happy to comply. One of the actors asked Schiller about Jewish donations that had dried up.

His bigotry doesn’t stop there. Schiller also told the potential donors that tea party activists have taken over the Republican Party, which threatens PBS. He described tea party members as “very fundamental Christian — I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird Evangelical kind of move.”

Then Schiller invoked race. He described the tea party movement as “white, middle America, gun-toting.”

“They’re seriously racist, racist people,” Schiller said.

Schiller explained that tea party Republicans are uneducated, pushing an “anti-intellectual” movement onto the public. Never mind the fact a New York Times/CBS News poll that found that tea party activists “are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public.”

“The educated, so-called elite in this country is too small a percentage of the population,” Schiller said. “So that you have this very large uneducated part of the population that carries these ideas.”

This grotesque, racist, anti-Semitic self-adulation and groveling for dollars may finally end the facade of purity that has defined public broadcasting. Commercial media organizations sell time to advertisers, and the relationship ends there. It is clean and pure compared with media fundraising, in which some large donors wish to impose unhealthy agendas on beneficiaries.

Government funding of public broadcasting also involves inherent conflicts. Taxpayers should demand a standard of objectivity that few journalists could possibly achieve. Jews, and tea party Republicans, should not be forced to fund a network that has been run by an executive who badmouths them.

During the sting, Schiller told his potential donors that he wouldn’t miss federal funding.

“Frankly, it is very clear that we would be better off in the long-run without federal funding,” Schiller said.

That’s a wish our Congress should grant, immediately.