Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) said Friday he will introduce a bill to defund NPR and PBS.
That came in the wake of NPR's firing of Juan Williams for comments about Muslims made on the O'Reilly factor.
"Once again we find the only free speech liberals
support is the speech with which they agree. The incident with Mr.
Williams shows that NPR is not concerned about providing the listening
public with an honest debate of today's issues, but rather
with promoting a one-sided liberal agenda," said DeMint.
Currently the Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding
for PBS and NPR is $430 million for 2011. CPB hands out the government
funds, which are only about 15% of noncom budgets, the rest coming from
viewer donations, grants, and corporate underwriting.
"We can't keep borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars
from China each year to fund public radio and public TV when there are
so many choices already in the market for news and entertainment," said
Free Press denounced DeMint's plans. "This is nothing
more than political opportunism by figures who have made their careers
on these types of shenanigans," said Free Press President Josh Silver in
a statement. "Calling to defund a public institution
that is one of the few sources of original, in-depth journalism and
educational programming - based on NPR's personnel decision - is like
calling for the death penalty in small claims court."
It was at least the second attack on public broadcasting this week.
Media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
(FAIR) earlier this week released its third study of PBS' NewsHour, and
said that it featured sources "from a narrow range of elite white male
experts," which it argues was a "failure" of
its mission to provide inclusive alternatives to commercial news.
"As in its previous studies of the PBS NewsHour (1990 and
2006), FAIR seems to be accusing us of covering the people who make
decisions that affect people's lives, many of whom work in government,
the military, or corporate America," Linda Winslow,
executive produce of PBS NewsHour said in response. "That's what we do:
we're a news program, and that's who makes news."
Republicans have periodically threatened to cut or cut
out noncom funding over various issues, including the perceived liberal
bias in some shows and, on at least one occasion, anger over a kids
show, Postcards From Buster (produced with Department
of Education money), that featured some two-momie families.