Representative Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado, recently penned an op-ed column calling for the defunding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It is truly one of the most disingenuous, self-serving pieces of public propaganda I have ever read. When I see something like this I always scratch my head and wonder: if you hooked the man up to a lie detector and asked him whether or not he was lying and got a "no," would you get a wavy line indicating that he was lying or a straight line indicating that he was telling the truth? Further, if he knows he is lying, how dangerous is he?
He makes several points in his piece. He says that the defunding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a genuine effort to save the taxpayers' money. He says that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting gets $430 million dollars out of the public coffers. He wants to partially reduce the federal deficit of $14 trillion dollars by knocking out the money for NPR and PBS. He says that he has nothing against NPR but he unleashed the Government Accountability Office to do an investigation of NPR. He points to the Juan Williams affair (Williams was fired by NPR for remarks he made on Fox News) as one of the things that demands his onslaught against NPR. He says that "...no one can justify paying for services that are widely available in the private market."
Frankly, I am surprised that the man's nose isn't growing, a la Pinocchio. He knows full well that NPR is among the most important and trusted news gathering services in the world. He has to know that there is nothing akin to it in the world of contemporary journalism. He has to know that the right wing has gobbled up many, if not most, of the AM talk stations and turned them into propaganda outlets for the likes of Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O' Reilly, Mike Savage (nee Weiner) and Glenn Beck. So it certainly stands to reason that these people and their Congressional mouthpieces would try to rid society of a network that at least tries to adhere to presenting all sides, something the aforementioned disciples of hatred would know nothing about.
Of course, Congressman Lamborn denies that NPR's news-gathering positions factor into his wishes to zero out the CPB. The poor, maligned man says, "Within NPR, some bizarrely claim that my efforts are aimed at controlling and influencing the editorial content of NPR." What a misunderstood man you are, Congressman Lamborn. Of course, you are after NPR because of their editorial content. Hey, you know all about that famous duck that walks and talks. Yes, you are waddling down the same road as the duck. Yes, you are such a duck. Lamborn even assures us that he is a fan of some NPR programs. Which one would those be, Congressman? Hey, he's called for an investigation and he is sponsoring not one but two bills that will rip the kishkas (innards) out of NPR.
Lamborn does make an interesting point. He says, "If Congress cannot vote to cut a program that is fully capable of operating without federal subsidies, I worry about the commitment of Republicans to cut any federal spending."
First of all, no matter how hard he tries, we'll keep it all going. At WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, we just went to our listeners Anticipating Mr. Lamborn's actions, we asked our listeners -- self-described Democrats, Republicans and even Tea Party people -- to get out in front of these cuts. We had our first million dollar fund drive and it took a week and two days. The Mr. Lamborns of this country will not prevail in censuring NPR or all the member stations that are doing such wonderful work around the country.
Finally, NPR was stupid in firing Juan Williams. He had an opinion and, despite the fact that I have never liked his stuff, he had a right to free speech. If you fired him for talking on Fox News, you should have also fired Cokie Roberts for giving her opinions on ABC. Nevertheless, all the great despots of the past have seized upon a single happening or mistake to create a rationale for going to war and Mr. Lamborn has acted in that tradition.
For purposes of proud identification please note that I am President of WAMC, Northeast Public Radio, a member station of NPR. As almost anyone in the system knows, I am probably the most frequent critic of NPR and its leadership. But there are times when you really have to speak up and this is one of them. Hey, I lived through Joe McCarthy and as a great philosopher Lee Hayes once put it, "This too shall pass."
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