The recent incendiary remarks by Ron Schiller, head of the NPR foundation, are just the latest reason for us, the taxpayers, to object to financing NPR. Their “tea bag” cartoon, their firing of Juan Williams, the George Soros grant, etc. are all good reasons as well. (ASIDE: NPR’s president admitted yesterday that they handled the Juan Williams controversy badly. Ya think?)
But let’s set aside all the bias and bigotry. The bottom line is there’s no good reason for the taxpayers to fund a domestic radio network. No one ever tries to defend it on the grounds that we don’t have enough domestic radio. Occasionally some will say it’s good to have commercial-free radio, but most people recognize that NPR’s “enhanced underwriting messages” are no different from commercials. Instead, most NPR supporters say that NPR provides a “different perspective”. In short, NPR’s supporters like it for its content, and they are afraid that its content won’t survive in the free market of ideas.
Who is NPR’s audience? They are wealthier and more educated than the average American. NPR doesn’t report political affiliation, but it’s fair to assume its audience is more liberal and more Democratic than average. Thus, NPR is a regressive institution, a transfer payment from the masses to the gentry.
I think that NPR will survive being cut loose. After all, it’s audience is a privileged elite. But if I prove to be wrong, I think I’ll be able to manage my sorrow.