Shock: NPR Plans Future Without Federal Ca$h

Forced to choose between left-wing bias and federal stimulus, National Public Radio is choosing left-wing bias.

And that’s something to welcome.

As reported yesterday morning by NPR’s David Folkenflik, after the scandals and resignations of the past year, the organization has quietly begun plans to wean itself from federal funding:

Behind the scenes, NPR executives quietly mapped out what the public radio system might look like without those federal dollars.

The questions were not easily resolved. What cuts would that entail? Which stations would falter? Would the creation of a major new endowment for NPR allow the network to reduce the fees paid by stations to carry its programs? Or would such an endowment better belong to the entire system?

NPR’s board, which is dominated by member station officials, is far from unified on this subject. But the discussion itself was notable.

Former CEO Vivian Schiller–now working for NBC, and regarding NPR as a competitor–tweeted her opposition to federal funding over the weekend:

Her replacement, Gary Knell, is pursuing a double strategy: “fight forcefully for continued federal support and plan actively for the day when such subsidies vanish, just in case.”

The real problem with federal funding is not just the source of the money, but that NPR uses that funding to pursue a partisan, “progressive” agenda that taxpayers don’t want to subsidize.

Though NPR’s political patrons and self-appointed defenders complained when conservatives like James O’Keefe exposed the beliefs of its senior executives, the financial and political pressure on NPR (in that order) spurred some creative thinking that was long overdue.

Ironically, NPR may become stronger and more successful once it emerges from behind the cloak of objectivity and weans itself from the security blanket of subsidy.

That’s what those of us who value both freedom of speech and a diversity of viewpoints have wanted all along.

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