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Faced with a serious move in Congress to eliminate their funding, NPR bosses are arguing that losing their taxpayer subsidy would mean the death of journalism, democracy and possibly the devolution of the entire human race. But without even taking a breath they add that federal funding is barely 2 percent of their budget. You don’t need IBM to tell you that those two statements don’t compute.
If just 2 percent of NPR’s money comes from the government, why not just tell Congress to take a flying frack at a rolling doughnut? Two percent, heck, you could make that up on doughnuts. Tens of millions of Americans have taken hits of more than 2 percent in this economy and lived to tell about it. And think of the inner tranquility that 2 percent nip and tuck would buy: Nobody from NPR would ever again have to listen to some braying reactionary complaining that NPR has more practicing witches on its staff than Republicans. (Even if it’s true: NPR reporter Margot Adler is a Wiccan high priestess, while any registered Republicans on the staff remain deeply closeted.)
The answer: NPR gets a lot more than 2 percent of its budget from taxpayers — perhaps 20 times that. It’s completely a creature of government subsidies and cannot possibly survive in anything like its current form if Congress plucks public broadcasting from the federal teat. NPR’s real costs are hidden in a system of back-and-forth payments quaintly known along the Bogota-Miami axis as “money-laundering.”
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Opinion: Get NPR Off The Public Dole
From Glenn Garvin The Miami Herald:
Posted by Tom Benson at 6:57 AM