Taxpayers shouldn’t subsidize NPR’s bias

An insider account of National Public Radio published last week provides the latest evidence that the federal government should stop contributing money to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The original reasons for taxpayer support for TV and radio programming have long since been superseded by technological advances. With federal debt levels as large as the entire gross domestic product, the government should cut every superfluity, no matter how small. But the main reasons for cutting funding to NPR are not fiscal.

When the only easily accessible means of mass communication involved limited broadcast spectrum, it made some sense for the government to ensure that at least part of the spectrum be reserved for high-quality, often educational, programming for children and for high culture. The advent of cable options long ago weakened that argument, and today’s wide-open internet streaming availability obliterates it. When every niche of the public can cheaply and easily find programming to its taste, there is no reason for taxpayers to subsidize productions for domestic consumption.

Some government broadcasting efforts, of course, remain appropriate. The Voice of America and its subsidiaries can be valuable tools for international diplomacy in counteracting malicious propaganda from foreign adversaries. Government or ideological propaganda within the United States, though, is more problematic. The CPB and its news TV and radio news affiliates spend your money to promote a left-wing political and cultural worldview.

An eye-opening April 9 essay by Uri Berliner, a senior business editor for NPR, shows how outrageously skewed its worldview has become. NPR always leaned to the liberal side of politics, but now the hard Left has taken over, making it a hotbed of radicalism.

At NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., 87 Democrats work in editorial positions. There are no Republicans, not one. Objectivity and fairness are not goals anymore. Managers tell reporters explicitly to be “agents of change.” In its hiring and what passes for journalism, NPR embraces tendentious identity politics, including self-flagellation for alleged “white privilege” and a “centralized tracking system” for the race and gender of every source used.

There is a “race and Identity reporting team,” and “diversity, equity, and inclusion” is declared “an inextricable part” of NPR’s journalism. Every “identity” subspecies, except for those with conservative views, has been given “affinity group” representation. On the smorgasbord is a program for “Marginalized Genders and Intersex People of Color,” and there is a group for “Women, Gender-Expansive, and Transgender People in Technology Throughout Public Media.” A modicum of real journalism would inform NPR’s management that such stuff is claptrap and should be abolished.

Berliner, himself an old-fashioned political liberal, provides granular examples of hard-Left bias, showing how it led NPR to misreport the false Trump-Russia “collusion” narrative, the debate about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, and the story about the laptop of presidential son Hunter Biden.

Why should taxpayers finance such balderdash — or such “misinformation,” to use a term deployed by the Left to censor conservative journalism — when audiences can get as much of that blinkered propaganda as they like from the New York Times and MSNBC?

CPB should be unhooked from the taxpayer spigot. Despite claims from advocates of both National Public Radio and of TV’s Public Broadcasting System that both are largely self-sustaining anyway through charitable grants and private donations, the reality is that both subsist significantly on taxpayer largesse. In the federal spending bill passed last month, $535 million is forward-funded for CPB for fiscal 2026, along with 2024 allocations of “$60 million for the public media interconnection system and digital infrastructure; $31 million for the Ready To Learn program at the Department of Education.”

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That funding is “leveraged … many times over” with taxpayer money from state and local governments and from universities, including taxpayer-supported state colleges. While direct payments from CPB to its NPR and PBS subsidiaries are small, CPB gives grants to hundreds of local stations that in turn are required to carry “national” programming of the sort produced by those networks and are required to pay for the programming. Those payments comprise at least 31% of NPR’s budget.

Enough is enough. Let NPR and PBS stand or fall on their own, without government largesse.

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