National Public Radio is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard radio place. They can be as liberal as they profess not to be and give up their use/need of partial public funding or they can keep taking those tax dollars and pretend to be neutral.
NPR hasn’t had a banner PR year. First came the Juan Williams firing fiasco and then yesterday NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller (resigned and was forced out) after a conservative activist (James O’Keefe) “sting” operation taped a non-news NPR executive bashing the Tea Party and calling its members racist and blah, blah, blah. Bashing the Tea Party in my book is not a bad thing but if you are a purported non-biased, neutral, down-the-middle-of-the-road publicly funded radio station it is nothing short of catastrophic. At least that is what the Congressional Republicans are saying as some of them discuss pulling the plug on NPR’s funding.
Depending on who you believe, NPR gets anywhere from 2% to 16% public funding from various sources: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other federal, state and local sources. NPR CEO’s have stated for years that hundreds of local stations would “go dark” without the public funds. I’m no expert on their funding but I do know that with public funding it means you have to please all of the people all of the time. An impossible task. You also have to please the politically correct police and every Republican on the planet. But, many Repubs don’t like NPR so that part is a lost cause.
The best thing NPR can do is quit pandering to the Republicans just for the money. Quit trying to feign interest in being totally unbiased when human beings are involved that have obvious opinions and biases. They should also drop the we are better than everyone else attitude because clearly with all these recent problems-they are not necessarily better just different. I like different and so do tons of NPR listeners and backers but they need to get off their high horse and call a spade a spade. Yes, they are more unbiased than most news entities out there but yes, they lean-to-the-left.
But most importantly, NPR stands for PUBLIC and without PUBLIC like myself and millions of others who give money during their “pledge” drives there would be no shows. We give because of the on-air talent, people in the field and behind the scenes workers helping to produce shows. Many could care less about their CEO’s unless they are doing something stupid, which seems a common thing lately. Maybe it is time for NPR to pander to the masses that actually listen to them and quit pretending to be something they are not. They are a great liberal news entity with excellent reporters and writers. And, that’s not a bad thing.