Time to reopen the great CPB debate.
There's a line of thought among those who oppose public funding of radio and TV that goes beyond the traditional "they're too liberal." It says that if you create a link between the government and a broadcast operation, sooner or later the government will get involved in the editorial content.
The reality is that the government -- by way of the FCC -- already is involved in content requirements but for the most part, politicians are at an arm's length.
Broadcasting and Cable magazine reports that a House committee wants to investigate the editorial standards of National Public Radio:
The House Energy & Commerce Committee plans to "examine certain editorial and employment standards and practices at NPR," as part of its communications oversight, according to a committee oversight plan, a copy of which was supplied to B&C. It cites "recent controversies involving NPR."
Those would be the firing of commentator Juan Williams, an ensuing investigation into that firing, and the resignation of the person who made that decision, Ellen Weiss, NPR Senior VP, News, It also plans to investigate the financing of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides funds to NPR and PBS, to determine whether that funding should continue.
By the way, tomorrow on NPR's Talk of the Nation (around 1 p.m. CT for you MPR listeners), there will be a discussion on the future of public broadcasting.
Listening to coverage of potential LGA cuts the other day reporter stated something to the effect of "LGA pays for services like libraries, police and fire". LGA goes into a city's general fund so it also pays for parks, statues, muni golf course losses, swimming pools and lots of other non-essential projects. These are the little things that cumuatively give public radio/tv coverage the "too liberal" tag. I have no doubt that there are just as many "too conservative" instances as well, it all matters what grates against a listeners sensibilities.
Of course conservatives would be unlikely to recognize the huge indirect subsidy provided to AM talk radio through the govt monopoly on airwave access which limits their competition.
I'm not sure I follow, Matt. In terms of definition, "essential services" has a certain meaning.
How does using that definition, as the reporter did here (and can you tell me when you heard it so I can look it up?) assault a listener sensibility?
I'm not aware of anybody at the Capitol who defines golf courses, swimming pools, parks or arts "essential services." Traditionally that has been hospitals, fire, and police protection.
Here's what I found online at mpr.org about LGA. Perhaps you could point out the flaw.
//The House Energy & Commerce Committee plans to "examine certain editorial and employment standards and practices at NPR..."
To what extent do they mean "certain editorial?" I would think that the First Amendment would make this a potentially treacherous area for Congress to delve into.
As to "employment standards and practices," unless I am mistaken, NPR would follow the same employment laws and regulations that any other business does. I would also hazard a guess that most (if not all) NPR employees are considered to be "at will" employees. Independent contractors are obviously a different creature altogether and would be bound to their contractual agreement with NPR.
Don't our elected officials in Washington have more pressing matters to tend to than this? I don't think anyone needs to worry about Mr. Williams not making his mortgage payment. I would also presume that Ms. Weiss has the experience and credentials to land another job (if she has not already done so).
To me, this simply sounds like an opportunity for some politicians to get some face time and rehash the same old arguments.
I believe it was on a top of the hour report at noon on Monday but can't be sure. The focus was on the the items normally provide and are expected to provide.
"Some city officials have argued that more state cuts will be too painful. But many also acknowledge that some kind of "new normal" has emerged. Bumpier roads and less policing may be inevitable; so might higher property taxes." So this is the consequence presented in the linked story. Replace that with "While cities will be asked to tighten their belts Minnesota's employers will be able to remove increased State taxes from the their long list of headwinds" and you suddenly appeal to a conservative listener.
I served on the city council in Waseca for 4 years and left just at the tail end of LGA cuts. In the years prior to that we built a waterpark, a bike trail around the lake and streetscaping downtown in addition to other projects. Had there been no LGA in those years the roads would have been maintained, police would have been dispatched as well as fire service. But we would not have a waterpark.
LGA is what makes the extras possible, and can make a city grow by being more attractive. Some councils consider LGA as part of their base income and spend it, that is financial mismanagement on their behalf, not a budget crisis created by the state.
I am a pragmatic libertarian type guy so I do not see MPR/NPR as liberal demons, Fox, MSNBC and AM radio are the homes for partisanship and should be labeled "For Entertatinment Purposes Only". You provide good news, it does lean center left in a center right country but that is not a sin worth condemning.
Ah, I see what you're saying. Thanks for the clarification.
That the republican led house with Fox News at its back would use the taxpayer's dime to pummel NPR in an officially sanctioned exercise would be wholly consistent with the agenda we've seen so far. And it is unfortunate for the integrity of a great institution -- NPR and all of public media -- to be characterized as propagandists for any political cause other than democracy itself. Yet, already it is Move On and Credo and Free Press and largely a democrat-led constituency that has rallied to the defense of NPR. Poor NPR has to thank its ideological backers but continue to keep even them at arm's length when it comes to editorial integrity. The goal of NPR is to inform without favor. The goal of the two-party system is to forge the best policies through adversarial tactics. Unfortunately, government funding links the two together and you get this conundrum.
I think it is fairly easy to recognize a Congressional attempt to harass and intimidate. It is not the first time for public broadcasting and won't be the last whether they receive any federal funds or not. This is simply one more example of how the GOP has used show trials to to carry out their agenda to coerce opponents of the GOP into silence. As far as the Mudockian media empire is concerned, if you look at its history, you will see that it started in England with the BBC where even today it works to prohibit public broadcasting from entering into certain new media in order to prohibit potential competition for the public's ear.