GOP Mounts More Attacks on NPR


Conservatives have National Public Radio in their sights for alleged liberal bias, but early attempts to cut funding for NPR in Congress have come up short -- at least so far.

The House of Representatives rebuffed a Republican attempt to forbid public broadcast stations from spending government grants received through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on NPR programs. The proposal was justified by Minority Whip Eric Cantor (D-VA) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) on the grounds that NPR had displayed unprofessional political bias in the high-profile firing of commentator Juan Williams, after he made allegedly anti-Muslim remarks.

However, there will almost surely be more activity on this controversial subject, as the House GOP pursues multiple approaches to cutting NPR funding.

Also this week, U.S. Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Michael Burgess (R-Texas), ranking member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, sent a letter to the Congressional Government Accountability Office asking it to review NPR funding in light of its supposed political bias.



Barton and Burgess wrote: "We do not mean to suggest that government should be involved in the editorial decisions of NPR or any other provider of content. Our concern is that the use of appropriated taxpayer dollars for the production of content could inappropriately involve the government in the promulgation of particular viewpoints and the silencing of others, especially since many taxpayers may not share the editorial views of NPR."

Earlier this month, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a bipartisan committee created by President Obama to help curb runaway deficits, proposed cutting $500 million in federal funding to the CPB, which in turn disburses funds to PBS, NPR and local public broadcast stations nationwide, through 2015.

While there is no direct proof that the proposed CPB budget cuts are linked to NPR's firing of Williams in October, the controversy surrounding his termination damaged NPR's image in the eyes of the American public.

NPR responded to the proposal to cut CPB funding with this statement: "In a time of media decline, especially in local, international and investigative reporting, public radio's role in fostering an informed society has never been as critical as it is today. The public radio audience is one of the few in media that has consistently grown -- doubling in the last decade alone."

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