Thursday, March 17, 2011

NPR: Whose National Priority Is It?

Today we are faced with several critical issues, among which are the budget and a possible government shutdown;  our desperate need for some sort of jobs bill;  new concerns regarding the safety of our nuclear power plants;  the fate of Japan, one of our major allies, in the wake of the earthquake and destruction by a tsunami;  and the developing revolts in the muslim countries of northern Africa.

One would imagine that it was the extreme nature of these issues that prompted Congressional Republicans to call an emergency meeting.  Is the “Party of No” finally setting aside its narrow ideological interests and tackling the real issues facing our country and the world? 

No, how naively optimistic of me to think this!  Their emergency meeting was to gather the Rules Committee to rush to the floor HR 1076, which seeks to prohibit all funding for NPR (National Public Radio) and for the acquisition of radio content. Representative Richard Nugent (R, FL) claims that they are not defunding NPR but merely “liberating it from public dollars.”
Now, any American who really wants to learn the in-depth details of those several critical issues to which I referred in the first paragraph (as well as almost anything else of importance), most likely will get his/her information from either NPR or The New York Times.  These sources offer the most thorough news coverage one can find.

Moreover, recent polls have shown that 69% of the American public favors continuing governmental support of public radio and TV.  Yet, our hypocritical Congressional Republicans, going against their often-invoked mantra that they are merely doing “what the American people want,” are going to defund (or, if you embrace Orwell, “liberate”) America’s best and most thorough source of news.

I guess that it’s not enough that Fox News has operated for over a decade as the propagandistic mouthpiece of right-wing Republican politics--the Republican Pravda, if you will.  Now the majority party of our House wants to insure that American citizens can only get their news from Fox, because it is clear that, as Representative Steve Israel (D, NY) says, after attacking reproductive health, and the salaries of teachers, nurses and researchers, “now the Republicans want to control the news.”    

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