Since Juan Williams spoke his mind the other day on FOX News and got fired over it, we’ve heard a bit of squawking from a few Republicans over the government’s funding of National Public Radio. Yesterday, Senator Jim DeMint is supposed to have introduced a bill to cut them off from government money. If he did, it’s not online yet. You can read about the fiasco that motivated Senator DeMint here: http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/10/22/jim-demint-introducing-bill-to-defund-public-broadcasting/
All of this sounded pretty good to me, until I read this: http://reason.com/archives/2010/10/22/radio-theater
What bothers me is the reason everyone is upset. The whole problem is that they want to cut NPR’s funding – or say they do – because they don’t like the liberal/PC flavor, rather than cutting it out regardless of the views expressed on NPR. It’s not the government’s place to fund radio at all. If enough people, ie. taxpayers who vote, will realize this and go just a bit libertarian, at least on this issue, it could be done. If DeMint’s bill doesn’t pass, assuming it gets out of committee, don’t vote to reelect anyone who votes against the bill. Make a note of how they voted and put it with your voter registration card so you don’t forget. Then vote for someone who will do it. If Senator DeMint’s bill is held up by the committee and no vote is allowed, then take note of who held it up and don’t vote for them again. We ought to vote based on what they do, not on what they say they will do.
If folks would go just a bit more libertarian, we could eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. When I read the article on Reason that is linked to above, I learned some things about government funding of our media that I did not know. Along with being the funnel for NPR’s taxpayer supported funding, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting does a lot of things the Constitution doesn’t tell the federal government to do or pay for. (That is how our US Constitution works, by the way. The federal government is only supposed to do what it tells them to do and nothing else and, the states are supposed to say no to anything that is unconstitutional. The states obviously haven’t been doing their job.) CPB is a private entity but it was created by congress in 1967 and is funded by the government. You can read about what the CPB does here: http://www.cpb.org/aboutcpb/goals/goalsandobjectives/ Broadcasters got along just fine without them before 1967.
Cutting NPR or not cutting, based on the views expressed, is like having an established government religion. It’s OK as long as most people agree or at least tolerate it. We can see from what happened to Mr. Williams how things go if someone dares to go against the established beliefs. And we all know that with money come strings. Don’t we know that? Didn’t a few banks learn this lesson recently?
If these squawking politicians really ARE concerned about the budget and the debt, this is a no-brainer. Doesn’t matter who is on NPR or what they are saying, we shouldn’t fund it. Going a step further would shut down the CPB as well. Stations can stand on their own or they can sink, just like everything else ought to do. Market support only….what a novel idea these days, but maybe it will catch on. Think about it.