Republicans Vote To Cut Funding From PBS and NPR, As Well As Many Other Quality Programs

Today, after years of effort, the republican hate machine has accomplished something nobody thought possible. They have moved a step closer to taking Tom and Ray Magliozzi off the air. You may not know the names well, but if you’re reading this, you probably know them as Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers of CarTalk fame.

On March 17, 2011, the US House of Representatives passedHR1076, banning the use of federal funds, the kind that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting supplies to public radio and television stations, from being used to pay dues and syndication fees to National Public Radio. This means, that anyone who wants to hear:

Car Talk, All Things Considered, This American Life, The Dianne Rhem Show, The Splendid Table, The Animal House, Fresh Air, A Prairie Home Companion, The Big Broadcast, The Retro Cocktail Hour, Interfaith Voices, Radiolab, The World, Deutsche Welle Radio, To the Point, As It Happens, On Point, Tell Me More, Talk of The Nation,

And hundreds of other quality programs on their local radio station had better be able to pony up with a pledge. If this bill succeeds, our tax dollars will pay for exactly 0% of the costs associated with these programs. This would not be an issue in a perfect world. Ideally, public radio listeners should put their money where they feel it is deserved, and help to pay for programming that enriches their lives. Many of us do, but many more, especially in rural communities, are unable to afford this cost, and often even if those in the community can afford to pledge, there is not enough population density for pledges to cover even basic operating costs.

This bill does not prevent any station from¬†acquiring content from National Public Radio directly. What it does instead, is permits Congress to prevent impoverished stations from providing the listeners the content they want. It tells them “Here, take this money, but you can’t buy that nice thing you want with it, you have to use it to make your own cheap knockoff.” Representative Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said it best: “The bill had one goal: punishing NPR.” This is not about saving money. This bill would save a grand total of $0. Nothing. It does nothing to reduce spending at all, it’s just taking away the allowance of anyone who wants to spend their money on NPR.

Why, then, would the Republicans want to do this? The reason is simple, my colleagues here have pointed it out many times. It should go without saying by now, but the point hasn’t been driven home. The truth is dangerous. Republicans can’t function in a nation of well informed constituents, they’d be laughed out of office before the next election cycle. They NEED the cover of ignorance. Thrive on it, but National Public Radio would destroy that. Not because of a liberal agenda, but because of the independence that not having to rely solely on advertising for its funding. Despite what the Republican Hate Machine would have you think, one cannot purchase opinion on NPR, the fundraising and news departments are totally separate. Try saying that of any other news outlet. They are few and far between that have so little bias. With no sponsors to please, ratings don’t matter, and so news can be pure, and entertainment can be free of pushes to buy things we don’t want, and would never use anyway.

It is a sad day when news that is truly fair, balanced, and thorough should suffer the wrath of an ideologue Congress, hell bent on preserving their own status, at the expense of the American People.