DON'T JUST DEFUND NPR - STRIP IT'S TAX-EXEMPTION!

October 22, 2010

With me going on a family vacation next week, it was my intention to write one more article on the GOP take over of Congress after the upcoming elections. However, in light of the recent termination of Juan Williams, I felt compelled to put in my two-cents worth concerning NPR.

I was employed by a local NPR affiliate from 1996 until 2004 and just walking through the corridors of that entity (which has not one but two radio and a PBS affiliated television station) I could feel the sense of entitlement among many of the employees.  It was as if life itself hung in the balance.

During the 1996 Presidential election, the powers that be at WHRO all but actively campaigned for and strongly urged its employees to vote Democratic. "Federal dollars are the key to employment for some here."

The GOP took over both houses of Congress just two years before and had already passed a bill cutting some of the funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which, in turn, funnels money into the coffers at NPR.  In 1995 that was nearly $35 million.

Everyone from the CPB to NPR down to our little part of the world knew that if the Republicans took the White House, funding would be cut drastically if not cut out completely.  Why? Well, it didn't take a rocket scientist to know that NPR was very pro-left and had nothing to gain from any Republican.

The White House stayed in the Democratic column with Bill Clinton's re-election and we all breathed a sigh of relief. But not so much me and another employee (the only other one to share my political views).  We both believed that the best thing for NPR and its local affiliates would be to learn to swim, or sink!

With the election of George Bush in 2000 and both houses of Congress, barely staying Republican, I could see tremendous anxiety running through the place. Some fellow employees started beefing up their resumes in preparation for the cut off. Yet, deep down, all the higher ups knew we would last, because, alas, there were the huge generous contributions of viewers and listeners which would at least pay for most of the staff salaries.

Ah yes! The tax right-off's for fellow liberals who listened with baited breathe to every word which proceeded from the mouths of the anchors, commentators and contributors of "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered."

For the first six years at WHRO I was a classical music announcer and the automation systems programmer, having nothing to do with the news and public affairs side except an occasional fill-in gig when someone was out sick. But all that changed in May of 2002 when I was moved over to the news side of the operation and worked as local host of Morning Edition. This gave me the front row seats to the far-left circus that was NPR.

Three major news items sprang up during the two and a half years I worked in that arena. As each unfolded so did my consternation of National Public Radio. In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court struck down that state's gay marriage ban, thus legalizing Gay marriages - the first state to do so. NPR spend a total of seventeen hours over two weeks on this story alone, as if it were the assassination of a President.

Heralding it as the greatest thing since chocolate ice cream, NPR reporters and analysts were all over it with adoration. But, just to be fair, they covered the opposition, with malice and pure contempt. In an interview with Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization of Marriage, reporter Nina Totenberg barraged her guest with insinuations of bigotry and hatred toward gays throughout the Christian community. 

Then came the vote on the ordination of the Episcopal Church's first openly gay clergyman for Bishop to the diocese in New Hampshire.  Again, the reporters and commentators were on it. Those they interviewed in favor of his consecration were propped up as saints themselves, open-minded and all inclusive. Those clergymen and laity from the opposite view were portrayed as devils, divisive and would be blamed for the demise of the denomination if they were to shrink its status in American society.

The straw that broke the camel's back for me and ultimately led to my leaving the station without favorable status, was the 2004 election. Reports from the heavy giving of notables such as George Soros and other wealthy far-left Hollywood types and the praise lavished upon John Kerry was more than I could stand. My cry to defund NPR as being totally in the hopper with the Democrats didn't set well with the new far-left leadership of my local affiliate.

All this brings me back to why NPR and its local affiliates should be defunded. Once upon a time, privately owned broadcast entities were required to give equal time to all sides of any political debate (the Fairness Doctrine). Public broadcasting was exempt. Today, whereas the Fairness Doctrine is no longer the law of the land, still many stations give equal time, noting that it is no longer a matter of serving the public interest as much as it becomes paid political advertizing. NPR, ans public radio as a whole, is still exempt since they, supposedly cannot advertize with commercial spots.

Should the CPB, PBS and NPR be defunded, as well they should, they should also be stripped of their 501-C-3 status and forced to go commercial. This would mean all donations to your local public radio and television stations would no longer be tax exempt. But lets face it, when churches (also tax-exempt) bring political debate within its hallowed walls to the extent that one candidate for public office is extolled over another, the IRS is legally bound to strip that church of its 501-C-3 status. What's so different between that and NPR?

The firing of Juan Williams, the only African-American on its analysis staff, is the straw that broke the camel's back. Appearing on FOX's "O'Reilly Factor" with a statement of how he would feel if he boarded a plane with Muslims dressed in "Muslim garb" and that it would make him feel uneasy, was not an endorsement to fear Muslims. Nor was Williams encouraging viewers to follow his lead. It was a personal opinion.

Less than 36-hours later, billionaire far-left financier and speculator George Soros gives $1.8 billion dollars to NPR and Juan Williams is fired. Coincidence?

I contend that George Soros, the self-proclaimed CEO and owner of the Democratic Party, should buy up NPR, take it private, and let the locals fend for themselves. There are enough far-left loons in this country who will go out an buy products advertized by special interest groups over the air.  Just think: your local hybrid car dealership could put a :60 spot on the air hyping the virtues of driving an electric car and supporting the Democratic Party without the necessity of having to put up with the twice annual "beg-a-thons" which they call fund-raisers.

I believe this latest incident will bring to a close the use of tax payer money to support NPR. Yet, since the network continues to favor one ideology at the expense of branding the other as being brain-dead, the tax exemption should go too.

Hey George! I know of a broadcast network that's up for sale!!!


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