Friday, May 27, 2011
“Nyanh, Nyanh!” That well-reasoned quote from my difficult-to-contain inner-child was directed at Congress as the pledges came in during the latest membership campaign held here at our very own NPR affiliate, 88.1 WVPE. The number of people who called and pledged and the number of those calling who said that they were calling for the first time because they are so furious at Congress for its threat to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, was beyond heartening. It was an occasion for a good gloat.
Generally, I keep my topics here on Michiana Chronicles in the non-controversial, non-confrontational sphere, but now and again a day dawns that calls for taking off the lady-like white gloves and stepping into the bloody fray. One cannot always be a polite fan; sometimes, you just have to stand up and loudly boo the officials who make bad calls. Response to the recent membership campaign was a booing moment. Many folks within Michiana booed the bad call made by Congress and showed that they value NPR. Now there’s a cheery example of voting with our dollars!
In the height of my irritation at Congress, I had a revenge-fantasy where I received your typical annoying dinnertime call from a solicitor on behalf of a political campaign. In my mental playlet, after the appeal for a monetary donation, I would say sweetly, “Oh, I appreciate your asking, but I had to give all of the money that I was going to donate to you to NPR instead. Sorry; perhaps next time things will be different.”
While listening to NPR lately you have noticed the short spots where NPR staffers make a case for NPR’s existence. Isn’t that a shame? Although those spots do articulate and clarify the value that we, the public of the nation served by that radio, receive for the pittance of the Federal budget directed to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That amount is 1/100 of 1% of the total Federal budget and that includes both public television and public radio—about 1300 outlets. The current allocation is well less than $500 million, while the allocation for foreign broadcasting is over $770 million. That being so, the effort to defund the CPB must not be about the money, but rather about a different agenda. Speculate about that, folks, and think about one final number: operating Congress will cost $5.1 billion dollars for fiscal year 2011. The CPB is having to scuffle for pennies on the street while Congress is lining its nest with large dollars. Talk about a “What’s-wrong-with-this-picture?” moment!
Could that Congressional “Gotcha!” agenda be the much-discussed liberal bias that allegedly exists at NPR? Recently, the program “On the Media” examined this topic. A 2004 study done by Tim Groseclose and Jeff Milyo that analyzed 20 mainstream media outlets was considered. Based on its criterion of the number of times media cited various think-tanks and policy groups of differing political stripes, NPR fell only slightly to the left of middle and The Wall Street Journal was judged to be the most liberal.
“OK then,” you may say, “but what about last-year’s rather high profile firing of Juan Williams and this year’s fall into the trap set by the politically-incorrect, supposed-donors?” Sure, management of NPR may have made a couple of missteps there. However, if we shut down every business or organization where someone has had a foot-in-mouth moment, there would be nothing in operation in this country. Congress certainly would have had its doors nailed closed!
So, as one of the “publics” involved in this public radio station, I say to all of you who did give or are about to give, “Thank you.” Together we have said ““Nyanh, Nyanh!” to Congress. Now the only job left to do is to stand up at this metaphorical game and shout, “Throw ‘da bums out!”
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