House Rejects GOP NPR Defunding Proposal
November 18, 2010 at 11:24 AM (PT)
As expected, the House rejected an attempt TODAY (11/18) by Republican lawmakers to defund NPR by prohibiting public radio stations from using CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING funds to buy NPR programming. The mostly symbolic proposal, spurred by NPR's firing of commentator JUAN WILLIAMS, was part of a teleworking bill that moved forward on a 239-171 vote, but the Democratic majority passed on voting on the NPR provision.
THE HILL reports that Rep. ERIC CANTOR said, "News organizations are free to do, say and operate on their own terms, but that doesn’t mean that taxpayers should be forced to fund them. Today’s vote was just the latest common sense YouCut to cut spending and save taxpayer dollars, and again Democrats showed that they just don’t get it." YouCut is the Republicans' weekly online poll allowing the public to pick a government spending provision they would like to see eliminated from the federal budget; NPR was this week's winner.
A statement from NPR read, "Today, good judgment prevailed as Congress rejected a move to assert government control over the content of news. The proposal to prohibit public radio stations from using CPB grants to purchase NPR programming is an unwarranted attempt to interject federal authority into local station program decision-making. Furthermore, restrictions on the authority of CPB -- a Congressionally chartered, independent non-profit organization -- to make competitive grants to NPR, or any other public broadcasting entity, is misguided.
"For more than 40 years, the federal government has provided financial support for public broadcasting – to serve the public interest with essential educational, news and cultural programming that commercial interests neglect. AMERICA’s independent, locally governed and managed public radio stations have always had the freedom to make programming decisions based on the needs of their audience and local community. The separation between funding and funders and content decisions is a widely respected, long held and fundamental standard of a free press.
"In an increasingly fractious media environment, public radio's value in fostering an informed society has never been more critical. Our growing audience shows that we are meeting that need. It is imperative for federal funding to continue to ensure that this essential tool of democracy remains available to all Americans and thrives well into the future."