Rep. Israel has unintentionally endorsed every conservative complaint about NPR as a liberal mouthpiece. And to me, as a journalist, it is also a statement of why NPR’s troubled management team has turned its fundraising efforts into a weapon to be used against its essential product — top quality, balanced reporting. No journalist should have to work with one finger in the political winds, anxiously waiting to see if Democrats continue to be pleased with what they hear on NPR as a counter to what they don’t like hearing from Rush Limbaugh.
But, wait, there might be one better argument for ending federal funding of NPR.
NPR’s top fundraiser, Ron Schiller, was caught on tape recently saying explicitly that “in the long run…[NPR is] better off without federal funding.”
In fact, Rep. Israel might have added spice to his fundraising appeal directed at liberal Democrats by quoting Schiller’s praise of liberal Democrats. “In my personal opinion,” Schiller says on the tape, “liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives.”
Betsy Liley, the director of institutional giving at NPR, is also heard on the tape saying that liberal billionaire George Soros has made it his business to subsidize NPR with as little fanfare as possible — that is to say to do it secretly.
Liley’s revealing comment and Schiller’s arrogance are instructive because they provide a window in to the culture of elitism that has corroded NPR’s leadership. They’re willing to do anything in service of any liberal with money. This includes firing me and skewing the editorial content of their programming. If anyone challenges them on this point, they will claim with self-righteous indignation to have cleaner hands than the rest of the news media who accepts advertising revenue or expresses a point of view.
It’s about time NPR stopped being funded by tax dollars.