Time to unplug NPR and PBS?

Most of this wouldn’t have come to light, if npr, just let it go, maybe had a quiet heart to heart chat with Juan Williams.  Can we do that? Nooooo, we have to have to make a huge production out of it…..

As Republican lawmakers lead the charge to cut off public funding to National Public Radio, which has been under fire ever since it sacked Juan Williams last month, the network insists it gets no more than 3 percent of its total budget from taxpayers.

But one analyst has argued that NPR’s $166 million budget is actually made up of more than 25 percent of taxpayer dollars and that its member stations across the country haul in another 40 percent of public funds.

Mark Browning of the American Thinker, a conservative online publication, made his calculations based on publicly available information on NPR’s website.

Some how that doesn’t surprise me.  However a bit further down…..

A report by Congress’ research arm, released late last month, could only identify about 4 percent in public funding to NPR. That’s because NPR’s financial structure is so complex and opaque, an aide to Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., told FoxNews.com.

Why such a large gap?

Revenues for the local NPR affiliates stem from a number of sources, including 5.8 percent from federal, state and local governments, 13.6 percent from universities, and 10.1 percent from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, or CPB.

But Browning noted that the federal government provides 99 percent of CPB’s funding and asserted that more than 10 percent of the university funding is fueled by tax dollars based on the assumption that three out of four university-supported stations are publicly funded.

That adds up to 25 percent of taxpayer money for the NPR member stations.

The article goes on about how individual contributions are tax-deductible, thus subisidized.  and in the end, PBS and some extent NPR are funded by the government some 41%

Read it here

PBS and NPR does provide a service

  • by providing broadcast radio and television services in to areas where there might be none.
  • In times of national emergency, having infrastructure there to communicate with the public is important.
  • Provides a platform for new talent, (on and off camera) to hone their skills before being trust into the harsh world of commercial broadcasting.

In the Sioux Falls area PBS has three,  on the air HD television channels.  Part of being able to hold on to their license is being able to send out information about weather related emergencies and PBS does the bare minimum by running a crawl, meanwhile other stations, opt to dump commercials ($$$), network programing,  and whatever else  might be on the air and go wall to wall with weather coverage. They do a much better job of informing the public than PBS does.  In times of crisis do you turn on your television/radio or your computer?

Should NPR and PBS be defunded? Maybe not 100% maybe some of their operations need to be scaled back.   What should congress do?  What should our legislature do?  Discussion?

34 Replies to “Time to unplug NPR and PBS?”

  1. thc

    So…SDPB is part of the conspiracy? Carrying the deeply flawed logic of a Colorado Republican who naturally took his charges to the GOP's propaganda arm, that is exactly what is being charged here.

    Local AFFILIATES of NPR are just that. Independent entities who take some (usually not all) of NPR's network offerings. Much like NBC, ABC, CBS and yes, FAUX affiliates are owned by independent entities.

    The congressional aide speaking through his party's propganda arm either failed to actually do his homework on this, or is willfully lying.

    Further, the implied threat to end the tax deduction on contributions to public broadcasting is rather chilling.

    And our new underblogger on this site compounds the error with another copy-and-paste job.

    If the new phase of SDWC (which already tends to embrace shrill partisanship as election day approaches) is now going to go the route of Sibby-like cut-and-paste plagiarism, it will soon be reduced to ONLY the most myopic and narrow-minded of its current readership.

    Of course, the myopics may like that, as the chorus will only reinforce their already closely-held beliefs and allow them the ability to cease any sort of critical thinking.

  2. ip

    Bill Janklow's idea of public radio trained two of the top journalists (both Native American) at work today: Curt Nickisch, now at WBUR, Boston and Brian Bull, Wisconsin Public Radio. Defunding SDPB would be just one more stupid South Dakota maneuver.

    Get a life, Mike.

  3. mhs

    So, an "aide" to an unknown congressman said only 4% public funding could be identifies because the finances are so complex? Ah, we're talking about the CBO, folks, which figures out the DoD, HHS, and Ag Dept budgets just fine.

    Politics in the cable t.v. era: if you don't like the numbers, just lie, they'll put it on the air anyway.

  4. Sharon

    Try actually listening to NPR before you start the "defunding" nonsense. The day NPR goes away is the day I get my pitchfork and torches, because that's when we truly become an Idiocracy.

  5. Fahz E. Behr

    I believe that we would be 110% wrong to defund NPR and South Dakota Public Broadcasting. I also find it incredibly offensive that people think that the only thing NPR and SDPB provide are "emergency weather related information"… here's a news flash… they don't! Nowhere else in the state would you have seen live coverage of each of the state football championship games. Nowhere else can you hear quality programming such as Dakota Midday. Nowhere else can you see things like the BBC World Service News and serious educational/thought provoking programs like Frontline. Nowhere else can you tune in and hear such programs as Jazz Nightly.

    It would be a sad day when PBS/SDPB went away.

  6. pacificus

    The Legislators talked about defunding SDPB last session but they were too scared to go through with it. Those who support it have little reason to worry.

  7. Anonymous

    I enjoy public television and if it and public radio are as valuable and popular as the libs on here attest, they should be able to succeed in the marketplace. If they can't outperform SyFi of GAC then so be it.

    Unfund them. For the same reasons we don't have National Public Newspaper.

  8. William

    I enjoy SDPB programming, have even written checks to support it. That said, I don't see the need for Federal funding, as long as states have the means to communicate with the public during emergencies.

  9. ip

    I can see now:

    "Tonight's Statehouse Report brought to you by Monsanto.

    Results from the GOP-dominated legislature has overwhelmingly approved a bill holding Monsanto harmless for everything it has ever done or will ever do to habitat, waterways, or drinking water supplies."

  10. Bill Fleming

    12:45 There is no doubt it could succeed in the marketplace.

    People would LOVE to buy ads on public broadcasting and have been trying to figure out for decades how to dominate that audience with their commercial messages.

    The questions are, who do you want it "brought to you by?"

    …and "What's wrong with the answer being 'We the People'?"

  11. William


    What's wrong with it being de-funded at the Federal level? No reason I can think of offhand that funding couldn't be provided by the states or the public at large through their donations. Defunding at the Federal level doesn't require that stations would become commercialized (any more than they already are).

  12. Bill Fleming

    Interesting question, William. First question that comes to mind for me is, what's the diff? Would State Government rather do business with a private, for profit company? Why?

  13. Troy Jones

    I've always been torn on this issue. I once served on the state board of public broadcasting. On one hand, many of the programs are thought provoking (good). On the other hand, they always seem to provoke the a same thoughts (bad). The editorial choices are almost exclusively liberal in content and perspective. I recall driving across the state and listened to Public Radio almost the entire time.

    By the time I got to Gettysburg, I felt like I had been in an elitist salon and not a very intelligent one at that. Before I went to visit my great uncle/aunt, I stopped for lunch at the Medicine rock and joined three retired farmers. Their conversation was more interesting, intelligent and diverse than what I'd listened to for four hours.

    If they are to survive, they have to find a way to beat the local coffee shop.

  14. William


    For me, the first question is: does GOVERNMENT need to do something?; then, if GOVERNMENT does NEED to do something, what LEVEL of government needs to do it? Never go higher in level than absolutely necessary. =|;)

  15. William

    "For the past 25 years, Congress has supported advance appropriations for CPB in order to help insulate CPB from politically motivated interference with programming."

    Can anyone seriously suggest that Congress can insulate ANYTHING from politically motivated interference?"

  16. j rae

    Given that Dancing with the Stars is the top rated show I see absolutely no need for anything that is more thought provoking to define our national intellect.

    Kidding aside, the airwaves are owned by the public and rented to broadcasters. When's the last time we raised the rent? I don't know. Just seems if a TV station can use these airwaves for a fraction of what a political campaign spends in one month, maybe we should take another look at if the public is getting fair value.

  17. Spencer

    Yes, we are finally barking up the right tree. SDPB should have sponsors like Monsanto, but to just have one sponsor replace government aid is silly. I would sponsor programming from all of the following and more: Pfizer, Dupont, Cargill, and BASF. Just think of the quality programming we would be getting in South Dakota if we didn't waste our time bleeding the American public dry through taxation and endless begging.

    I do think that there is a clear distinction between PBS and NPR. PBS has a leftwing tilt, but it also has an inherent value in its programming. NPR is little more than a leftwing mouthpiece because its ultraliberal national news commentators exhibit such a large sway over local station coverage. It is time that we cut the head off of the liberal leech. Get rid of NPR.

  18. Anon

    Doesn't matter what the percentage of public funding is. It shouldn't be a single dime, especially with ultra radical leftist and billionaire Soros subsidizing "reporters." Let him write the check to make up for taxpayer funds.

  19. MC

    The article indicated that good share of their money was coming from the government through third parties. Should they be de-funded as well?

  20. grudznick

    Why do the crazies get the most bent out of shape whenever somebody wants to make public broadcasting stand on it's own? WHY?

  21. Stan Gibilisco

    Anon 8:31: I agree. Let NPR stop trying to pretend that they're not biased toward the left. Let them get their money from George Soros and general contributors, call themselves "National Progressive Radio," and end the charade. They'll have their audience — and might even expand it — just as the "religious" and right-wing radio stations have done.

    As for us, the people, let's not delude ourselves into thinking that anything approaching unbiased media exists. Maybe it once did, but it does not now, and likely will never again within our lifetimes. The best we can hope to do is to balance the extremes and hope we can stay sane.

  22. I would rather be fi

    National Propaganda Radio! That’s exactly what is! National Propaganda Radio! A liberal bias radio station!

    Ever since I can remember there has always been a lack of balance in its programs. Newt Gingrich has argued NPR squandered taxpayer dollars on a bastion of liberalism. John Boehner, who might be the country's next speaker of the House, has told National Review "it's reasonable to ask why Congress is spending taxpayers' money to support a left-wing radio network!

    Slurpy at coffee this morning says Juan Williams was Fox’s News pet liberal and that Fox News is now all fired up because NPR fired Juan! Slurpy also said that , fact check sites say that Juan Williams was fired for violating the terms of his contract and that yes, he had repeatedly violated the Ethics provision of his contract with NPR in that he was allowed to give analysis but not opinion. NPR was trying their best NOT to be like FOX news or MSNBC and spelled this out in their contracts. If an employee in any job decides to violate their contract they are fired. Slurpy says this what its like in America.

    Well, Slurpy may be a little bit right. But, we are now sending intimidating messages to ALL of public broadcasting! With the election results we Tea Baggers and the Representatives and Senators that WE put in office will get rid of anything and everything our Tea Baggers don’t like.

  23. William

    I'm not as concerned about where cuts start, as long as a commitment to start cutting really begins and continues in a serious fashion.

  24. Anonymous

    I truly don't care if the programs are good, bad, liberal, conservative or whatever. The issue is why should the taxpayer be supporting it when we have so many other stations broadcasting.

    To all you who want the taxpayers to continue funding the SDPB, start supporting it more yourself if you want it. The taxpayer should not be required to foot the bill for them. If such a small percentage of their funding comes from the government, SDPB should be able to survive quite easily without our taxes.


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