Live-blogging the highlights of today's debate over stripping NPR of funding and prohibiting public radio stations from using public funding to purchase programming.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass: "They want to move to radio silence and when the American people find out about that, they're going to be outraged."
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn: "It is a wealthy, educated listening audience. If people want this programming, they're going to be willing to pay for it but the American taxpayer has said, 'get NPR out of our pocket.' They have some sponsors that land in the $1 million plus category."
Rep. John Dingel, D-Mich., "Public broadcast is a national treasure... It sheds a little bit of culture on our people, something my Republican colleagues find offensive."
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon: "It's not going to stop NPR, which will go on. What it will cripple is what happens in smaller stations around the country."
Rep. John Larson, D-CT: "Americans are seeing through this... it's an ideological purge under the guise of dealing with the deficit... What they are doing is silencing NPR because it's not on the same ideological frequency as the extreme right."
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-CA. "I guess they figure if they can't catch Bin Laden, they might as well go after Prairie Home Companion. Public broadcasting is twice as popular as the Afghanistan war.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas: "These Republicans just can't tell the difference between Big Government and Big Bird. All things considered, their attack has nothing to do with balancing the budget.
Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fl. " The CEO of Sesame Street makes $956 million. Are we serious?
Rep. Renee Ellmers R-NC: "The bill would prohibit public radio from using federal funds for the production or acquisition of programming. I don't believe NPR has the right to public funds to our hard-earned taxpayer dollars when they have funding from private interests.
Rep. Rush Holt, D-NJ: "Saying factual information is somehow a liberal bias... we talk about the need for a well-informed public. Today there was a news report on the slow progress the Army is making on seeing that the wounded soldiers get their Purple Heart. This is good reporting. The other side seems to think this is... wait, wait, don't tell me.... biased reporting. We need NPR."
Rep. Carolyn Mahoney, D-NY: "Those who primarily listen to NPR were considerably less likely to hold demonstrably false beliefs. So now our colleagues across the country want to pull the plug on NPR... our colleagues want to fire the messenger. (It) is not a move to save money; it's a move to save face."
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn: (Closing) This bill isn't about taking NPR off the air. What it simply says is if you are an affiliate station and you want to pay NPR dues, you can't use taxpayer dollars. If you want to buy NPR programming, you can't use taxpayer dollars for that. There's plenty of popular programming out there... if listeners like the NPR that they have, they can keep it. They need to raise the money for this.
(Their audience) is college educated, the average household income is $86,000 a year... NPR has said they don't need our taxpayer funding. There are 17 different positions attached to creating one hour radio show. There are talented people all over this nation who would love to have a platform that they would like to create. The time has come for us to claw back this money... and send a message.
1:44 p.m. - Democrats try to amend the bill to allow public radio to air Amber Alerts, presumably using taxpayer funding.
Rep. Blackburn: "This is a procedural move to try to derail the funding to NPR. There's nothing in the bill preventing Amber Alerts. (Amendment defeated. A 15-minute roll call vote follows)
2:15 p.m. - On a quick voice vote, Democrats out-shout Republicans on the bill, but a roll call has now been ordered.
2:23 p.m. - The bill defunding NPR has passed 228-192. One congressperson voted "present."
Here's the roll call.
You can be sure conservatives in Canada are rubbing hands together as they plot to use NPR defunding as precedent to defend cancelling the CBC. Private commercial media outlets are overwhelmingly right-wing in their coverage of most things. Balanced coverage is viewed by rightists as biased. This is precisely how fascism is enabled.
"(Their audience) is college educated, the average household income is $86,000 a year... NPR has said they don't need our taxpayer funding. There are 17 different positions attached to creating one hour radio show. There are talented people all over this nation who would love to have a platform that they would like to create."
I can't make any sense of what Rep. Blackburn is saying here. Does anyone else get it?
Why everybody be hatin'...dang Click and Clack, spreading their car knowledge. Back in my day, we all cherry-picked our own engines and had gas attendants fill our gas tank.
What this country needs to do is time travel back to the fifties when everything was rosy and pure and all you had to do is turn the outside light on to indicate when it was time to come in for dinner...that is what this fight is all about.
//at Rep. Blackburn is saying here
She says that by restricting public radio stations' ability to buy programming from NPR or other public radio stations, they will have to create more of their *own* programming, and hire 17 people for every hour of programming they have to produce, creating jobs for the economy, and they'll be able to pay for it soley through the contributions of households making an average of $86,000 a year.
Now back to reality:
There's a civil war underway in Libya and a triple-tragedy in Japan, both of which costs HUGE amounts of money to cover and are well beyond the ability of local stations to cover.
So, let's presume that a station's budget is now dedicated MORE to local programming.
How does the station that has been forced to redirect its budget only to local programming provide coverage of those news stories outside of a local market.
The answer is clear. They don't.
By the way, the government is still paying for public broadcasting. It's called the VOA and -- separately -- Radio Marti. Presumably, this is because there's a strategy that it's in the interest of the U.S. to have people in these other country's properly informed.
There's been no move to defund them because of budget woes.
I am sure WCCO could get DeRusha to head to Japan. That guy will do anything.
"It is a wealthy, educated listening audience. If people want this programming, they're going to be willing to pay for it but the American taxpayer has said, 'get NPR out of our pocket.' "
I really hate this rhetorical device of conjuring up a singular, homogeneous "American taxpayer". It pretends that an NPR listener is not also a taxpayer. If more Americans than not want to cut NPR funding, then fine, listeners will have to deal with that reality. But I wish powerful people would quit framing it like the two sides are NPR supporters and "taxpayers". There are NPR supporters and NPR detractors, but we all pay taxes.
Thanks for the explanation Bob. It seems so clear when you say it, but I guess that's why you do what you do.
@Katy K hear hear.
Bob, we also pay for Armed Forces Radio.
I just looked at the Armed Forces Radio Network schedule. Taxpayers are covering the cost of broadcasting Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ed Schultz, Alan Colmes, and Mike Huckabee.
I have to assume (always dangerous to do that, however) that the gentlemen listed above don't donate their shows to the U.S. Government either. Or do they?
NPR's "ATC" is also broadcast. Does that disappear too?
@Katy K: another "hear, hear"
Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR:
Omnibus Appropriations, Special Education, Global AIDS Initiative, Job Training, Unemployment Benefits, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations, Agriculture Appropriations, FY2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations, U.S.-Singapore Trade, U.S.-Chile Trade, Supplemental Spending for Iraq & Afghanistan, Flood Insurance Reauthorization , Prescription Drug Benefit, Child Nutrition Programs, Surface Transportation, Job Training and Worker Services, Agriculture Appropriations, Foreign Aid, Debt Limit Increase, Fiscal 2005 Omnibus Appropriations, Vocational/Technical Training, Supplemental Appropriations, UN “Reforms.” Patriot Act Reauthorization, CAFTA, Katrina Hurricane-relief Appropriations, Head Start Funding, Line-item Rescission, Oman Trade Agreement, Military Tribunals, Electronic Surveillance, Head Start Funding, COPS Funding, Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID), Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, Thought Crimes “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, Peru Free Trade Agreement, Economic Stimulus, Farm Bill (Veto Override), Warrantless Searches, Employee Verification Program, Body Imaging Screening, Patriot Act extention.
Marsha Blackburn Voted AGAINST:
Ban on UN Contributions, eliminate Millennium Challenge Account, WTO Withdrawal, UN Dues Decrease, Defunding the NAIS, Iran Military Operations defunding Iraq Troop Withdrawal, congress authorization of Iran Military Operations, Withdrawing U.S. Soldiers from Afghanistan.
Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
See her “blatantly unconstitutional” votes at :
Maybe they should have asked Representative Bachmann how she feels about the anti Bachmann Political stories written by Tom Scheck at MPR (minnesota pravda radio)
NPR takes a grant fro George Soros for one million dollars, Soros runs a plethora of non profits like Media matters, Progressive Minnesota Project, The minnesota Independentant and member in good standing with the Soros non profit committee for independentant broadcasting in the public interest.
If the Public funded broadcasters want to run with the left... Let them spend their own money. De- fund the biased and dysfunction in all public broadcasting... Soros will pick up the lost taxpayer funds. Why is truth in broadcasting such an unattainable goal by the democrat left ?
Marsha Blackburn is an embarrassment to her district.. She has done NOTHING for us and regularly puts words into our mouths. I don't know of a single person who wants to defund NPR, but she said that's what she was elected to do. The only reason she gets elected is that this a Republican gerrymandered district. A Republican dog could get elected here. Enough said.
Marsha Blackburn lives in the richest county in the country--Williamson County, TN. I guess she is saying THEY can afford to pay for NPR?? I kinda doubt it. Most of them are Repugs who don't want to hear anything but FOX, and they are rich enough to send their children to private schools so to hell with Big Bird and Sesame St. As for clean wholesome entertainment, well, I guess they are against that too. Truth is, the rural counties of her district are the ones who enjoy public programming. Sometimes cable doesn't reach into those areas. But then who said Marsha cares about anybody but herself!
If NPR has run any "anti-Bachmann" stories, then more power to them! Somebody has to keep lying politicians in check, and I can think of no one who falls into the "pants on fire" category more than Michelle Bachmann, although Marsha Blackburn runs a close second.
I haven’t heard or seen any anti-Bachmann stories on MPR. They have just done a couple of fact-checking stories on her many lies. However, I HAVE heard lots of “news” stories about Bachmann with recordings of what she says at various events and then NOTHING about any opposing views. It’s like they’re running free political ads for her. MPR regularly does this about other Republicans too (they seem to do it the most with Pawlenty, even now as he isn’t even in office here anymore).
The truth is that both MPR and NPR bend over backwards to air conservative views, often leaving those views hanging in the air without any analysis or refutation. Commercial news outlets (owned by corporations) are even worse, and I don’t mean just Fox. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) periodically does research on who NPR and other news outlets have on the air as experts and commentators, and they have found that there are many more conservatives than progressives on the air in those capacities.
Mickey white: Since Blackburn’s first name is Marsha, I think it’s safe to assume that she’s a woman. Therefore, you should refer to her as a CongressWOMAN.
// Why is truth in broadcasting such an unattainable goal by the democrat [sic] left? //
Actually “truth in broadcasting” is what public radio and tv get CLOSER to than commercial media do. Despite my above-mentioned frustrations with public radio, they do get CLOSER to the truth than the others. And that is precisely why conservatives don’t like and want to destroy public media.
//Why is truth in broadcasting such an unattainable goal by the democrat [sic] left? //
Not aware of any public broadcasters running videotape purporting to show violence by the Wisconsin protesters, that featured palm trees in the background.
Fair and balanced Democrats and progressive socialist sympathisers,
Let's elevate the intellectual value of the comments here. We all know what each side's slogans are. Hearing them for the 1 millionth time isn't any more illuminating than the first time.
Make that one million + one, Bob.
National Public Radio should be funded by the public... voluntarily. My local NPR stations, when they have their fund drives, state that "only a small portion of our funding comes from the federal government." I assume that they say this to explain why they need our private and voluntary financial support. I encourage everyone who finds value in public radio to support their local station... voluntarily. But please don't take it from me by force, IRS.
Several of you are not understanding what this vote was about. This was not the vote to remove CPB funding from public broadcasting. This was a vote specifically about what the dollars can be used for.
In the most wide-ranging sense, this was about not using the dollars to buy programming, which -- of course -- is what public radio does.
Last night, for example, I was listening to The World, which provided updates from Libya and Japan. That programming is purchased. That would not be allowed.
What WOULD be allowed is using the money for clerical and administrative purposes.
If we go back to the original idea of public broadcasting as an educational tool, this would be akin to passing legislation that would allow money earmarked for schools to go to administrators, while directing it away from the classroom.
By the way, the MPR annual report was recently posted here. MPR, of course, is not at all representative of the typical public radio station.
It would be good to examine so a discussion can be based on actual numbers.
BTW, I'm deleting all the speech-making comments. I'm bored with them and their inconsistent with the public broadcasting mission of providing valuablefact-based data and in-depth discussion.
There are plenty of places to get superficial speech-making that's disguised as a policy debate. I continue to believe intelligent adults should strive to converse on acrimonious issues in a more productive way than we presently are in the U.S.