Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Conservative Vendetta Against the NPR

From Raw Story:
The House Rules Committee will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday to consider legislation to permanently prohibit federal funding of National Public Radio (NPR) after conservative activist James O'Keefe released a video smearing the news organization.
The bill, H.R. 1076, was introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), who is leading the effort in the House to eliminate all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the parent organization of NPR and the Public Broadcasting Service.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) office told Politico that he will bring the bill to the House floor on Thursday.
A video created by O'Keefe's "Project Veritas," showed activists Shaughn Adeleye and Simon Templar posing as members of the fictional Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) and meeting with NPR Foundation President Ron Schiller and NPR Senior Director of Institutional Giving Betsey Liley.
The heavily edited video seemed to indicate that Schiller laughed when he was told that the fake Muslim group advocated for sharia law. He also allegedly said the tea party was filled with racists, and that NPR would be better off without federal funding.
The NPR Board of Directors accepted CEO Vivian Schiller's resignation the next morning.
"I am amazed at the condescension and arrogance that we saw in the vide," Rep. Lamborn said in a statement after the video had been released. "They are obviously out of touch with ordinary Americans."
This vendetta has been going on for years. So long, in fact, that I'm bored with it. As a consequence of this vendetta, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been leaning towards the right-wing for some time, long enough for the NPR to be reinterpreted as Nice, Polite Republicans.

But all this leaning has been to no avail. The wingnuts want to kill the NPR. They hate Sesame Street and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and other children's programs which don't try to sell children toys. They hate the idea that one might learn something by watching television. And they utterly hate the idea that there is a non-corporate (well, barely) alternative to all that corporate information Americans consume every single day.

And then there are the Fox News, explicitly sending out the Republican take on every single news item. But because Fox News is owned by private capitalists it is safe. If only we could find some private capitalists to fund the NPR in a way which wouldn't make it kneel in front of the same right-wing think tanks which already rule at Fox!

I'm not terribly keen on the current quasi-Republican NPR myself because I can access foreign news sources on the net. But it has had an important role to play in those children's programs. To watch wingnuts wanting to kill it is sad, and it reminds us that they do not believe in cooperation or compromises.

Slightly off the topic, NPR is one of the only places on American television where we can see women who look like real women do. The men on television don't differ vastly from men in the real world, but the women on, say, Fox News do! They are made up to look like dolls.

The other night I was watching a Fox News clip which showed three faces of side by side, one man in the middle of two women. The man had your average sort of middle-aged male face. Nothing to write home about. The two women, on the other hand, may have been human-sized Barbie dolls. At least NPR never committed that particular sin.