National Public Radio funding under fire

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The House of Representatives voted to terminate government funding for National Public Radio on March 17. According to the NPR website, 5.8 percent of the station’s revenue sources come from federal, state and local government funding. The Senate, however, is not expected to pass the bill.

The bill was passed 228-192 without the support of Democrats and seven Republicans. Democrat majority in the senate makes the bill’s success unlikely.

Republicans are unhappy with taxpayer dollars funding the liberally-slanted station. Recently, NPR fund raising executive Ron Schiller was taped expressing negative opinions of conservatives as well as questioning whether the station required government funding.

Democrats argue cutting funds would not aid in reducing the deficit and would cut people in rural areas off from a main news source.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., is said in an article from The Huffington Post asking, “Why should we allow taxpayer dollars to be used to advocate one ideology?”

Daniel Skubik, professor of law, ethics and humanities at California Baptist University, does not believe a government funded journalism program should have additional responsibilities due to its funding source.

“Such demands would constitute control of the journalistic process and that is constitutionally and professionally illegitimate,” Skubik said. “This presumes that the funding has been previously vetted per Congressional guidelines about when and how funds should be disbursed.”

In the same article from The Huffington Post, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said the issue is not over the stations bias but over distributing money to organizations able to support themselves.

“As a country we no longer have this luxury,” Lamborn said.

According to the article, the federal government contributed nearly $5 million to NPR in 2010. The Departments of Education and Commerce are examples of federal funding sources.

“Journalism is but one of the many activities which government can and does legitimately fund, principally to enhance independent community activities,” Skubik said.

“The follow-up question is whether those funds should have priority when budgets need to be balanced and spending cuts are inevitable,” said Skubik. “That argument is also legitimate but should not constitute a political attack against disfavored activities.”

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