Defund NPR, but not because of Juan Williams

Much has been made of Juan Williams’ recent appearance on The O’Reilly Factor that cost him is job at National Public Radio. Whether or not the comments warranted terminating his employment with NPR has been a matter of debate over the last two weeks.

During his lead into the segment with Mary Katharine Ham, a conservative pundit, and Williams, Bill O’Reilly proclaimed, “[t]here is no question there is a Muslim problem in the world,” before replaying clips from his appearance on The View, where he caused two of the show’s hosts to walk off the stage during a discussion about the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque.”

In apparent sympathy with O’Reilly’s view, Williams said, “[w]hen I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Williams would go on to warn against labeling extremists that hold a certain religious view from being representative of the religion itself. However, a few days after his comments, NPR fired Williams for views “inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.”

The firing immediately caused uproar among commentators, talk show hosts and political pundits who believe – or at least asserted — that the comments were taken out of context and that NPR fired Williams because he worked at Fox News, which is typically viewed as friendly to conservatives and Republicans. Predictable calls for defunding of NPR were made by Sarah Palin, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), and even Williams himself, among many others.

While NPR claims to receive no “direct” federal funding, the fact is that about 10 percent of its funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a quasi-government organization created by Congress during the Johnson administration. According to the CPB website, it received some $393 million from Congress in 2008 and $420 million this year.

We can discuss context all day long, but the question that should be posed to those shouting from the rooftops to defund NPR is: Why are you only now — after the broadcasting firm does something with which you disagree – clamoring to eliminate federal funding for NPR?

NPR should be defunded, not because of the controversial firing of Juan Williams, but because government should not be not be involved in the news business in the first place.

44 comments Add your comment


November 3rd, 2010
5:52 am

Actually Bob,

I have been saying that the funding of public broadcasting should be changed for years. The fact that Ken Burns, Sesame Street, Martin Scorcese, etc…can get public funds to make their programs for PBS, and then dont have to give back any of the millions of dollars they make through sales of DVDs, soundtracks, toys and other paraphernalia is wrong. I think if you use public funds to make money, then the public should have some stake on the profit. It is a much more effective way to fund Public Broadcasting.

Karl Marx

November 3rd, 2010
6:40 am

No public money should fund NPR nor PBS at all. If they cannot survive in the marketplace the taxpayers should not provide the welfare to keep it alive. I for one think they would do just fine without public funds. There is a market for what they offer and public funds are really not needed.


November 3rd, 2010
7:20 am

If Soros and his ilk have their way, Mara Liasson would be next to go from NPR for her affiliation with FOX News. After that, the targets would be private sector affiliations with not just FOX News, but ALL of FOX. The first two targets would be Bernard Goldberg and Joe Buck, both of whom work for HBO. Next it would be anyone business-related, such as the FORTUNE magazine writers Nina Easton, Adam Lashinsky, and Leigh Gallagher. After that it would be anything affiliated with SPEED Channel because of NASCAR to appease the envirofacists, including Larry McReynolds, Kyle Petty, Adam Alexander, Ralph Sheheen, and Matt Yocum. Finally, it would be others like Dick Stockton and Pam Oliver.

Another area that would be hit would be WSB AM because of Neal Boortz and Herman Cain thanks to their affiliation with CNN Radio. The fact that WSB AM also has Clark Howard who works for HLN (and who I think is a useful idiot) does not help.

Let us also not forget that FOX 5 has four former Time Warner employees working for them now: Denise Dillon, Stacey Elgin, Tom Haynes, and Ken Rodriguez. Could they plants designed to overthrow FOX 5, a News Corp owned and operated station?

Makes you wonder what is going on?


November 3rd, 2010
7:53 am


I cannot think of a single reason any government should give a dime to any news or entertainment organization.

But, Big Bird has a huge following among otherwise well healed conservative young mothers. Good luck on getting government funding cancelled.

David B.

November 3rd, 2010
8:22 am

Only idiots would think that eliminating public and not-for-profit media sources was something good for the public at large.

It’s bad enough that newspapers are barely surviving and that our major media outlets are fewer in number. It’s not uncommon to see inaccurate stories spread like wildfire among the big three – CNN, MSNBC, and FOX, all because they lack resources to confirm the first report.

Ironically, our lack of independent media sources may be the most communist-like feature of our country, as the Soviet Union received most of it’s news via the Pravda (”Truth”) and Izvestia(”News”). The Russians joked that there was no news in the Truth and no truth in the News, and that seems to be the direction we are going. Fox News serves only as a mouthpiece for the GOP at the whim of Rupert Murdoch. MSNBC bends to the Left extreme, and CNN finds itself loosely in the middle.

Granted all they do is try to fill 24 hours with programming that will drive their ratings – an impossible job, but they lack any in-depth investigations or coverage, an area where NPR excels. Frontline may be the only other television program that has anything comparable.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with
their own government.” That’s the whole point.


November 3rd, 2010
8:27 am

It’s simple. The amount of funding, if any, for NPR should conform to the will of the people as expressed by their elected representatives.

BTW. Juan WIlliams didn’t get fired for the content of his opinion, he got fired because expressing his personal opinion in a public format was a violation of his contract with NPR. He knew the risk of what he was saying and said it anyway. Regardless of how badly NPR handled it, initial action was Juan’s.

[...] post by Metacafe Affiliate U and software by Elliott Back No Comments [...]

Common Man

November 3rd, 2010
8:32 am

David B. So I guess your solution is to have a government run news agency because with the free enterprise agencies “it is not uncommon to see inaccurate stories spread liek wildfire” ?? So maybe we are idiots, but you are a moron to think government run news will be the source for “accurate news”. Don’t take off your tin foil hat…the radio waves might be penetrating your peasize brain.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 3rd, 2010
8:37 am

Well argued. Shouldn’t there be a “wall of separation” between government and speech?

Trapped in a Red state

November 3rd, 2010
8:42 am

It is the only source of unbiased news. period
Advertisers on the other news outlets have influence over what is being reported.
If more of this nation listened to NTR, instead of Fox News we wouldn’t be witnessing this GOP success.
Look at The map of Ga on this mornings paper titled “how they voted”.
It is apparent that the more populated areas voted Democrats while the poorer rural areas voted for Republicans.
People voting against their own best interest.
Either it represents a brilliant propaganda machine, or a lot of ill informed citizens.

Trapped in a Red state

November 3rd, 2010
8:43 am

Sorry that;s NPR

Trapped in a Red state

November 3rd, 2010
8:52 am

David B
Well said.
Can you spot the Faux News listeners on this blog ?
Pretty obvious really. Hi there Common man, Ragnar, conservative.. to name a few.


November 3rd, 2010
8:55 am

Jesse Jackson once said that while walking down a street he heard footsteps behind him. When he turned to look and saw it was a white man, he said he felt releived. Does that make him a racist? Should he have lost any employment? If the answer is no, then it only shows how alive and well the racial double-standard is in the US.

Common Man

November 3rd, 2010
9:28 am

This election was not about voting Republican. It was the people saying we have had enough of government contol of healthcare, deficit spending, taxation and socialist philosophy of a President that has no substance other than a cute campaign slogan. If that is Fox news propoganda, so be it…but the people spoke that we cannot let this Presidents policies to continue to lead us into a deficit oblivion. The numbers speak for themselves.


November 3rd, 2010
10:54 am

Defunding public broadcasting will only put people out of work. The funds that stations receive go to hiring people and paying them. Federal funding is a tiny amount of the federal government. Pulling federal funding will only put people out of work and that’s not a good idea right now.


November 3rd, 2010
11:43 am

Trapped In A Red State @ 8:42

Why are you so arrogant that you think you can define other people’s “self interest”?


November 3rd, 2010
11:53 am

NPR provides some of the best news. I would sooner defund Congress than defund NPR. At least NPR serves a daily purpose.

Big D

November 3rd, 2010
12:06 pm

I agree whole heartily…we don’t have the money for all the “Esoteric” wastes of the past. If you can’t get enough sponsors…you quit ergo Air America.
We live in a different America…a broke one.

Big D

November 3rd, 2010
12:09 pm

TRS…it’s only un biased when they say what YOU like…
Ragnar…. can you tell who the CNN, PBS bots are…
back atca….

A. J. C . Smith

November 3rd, 2010
12:20 pm

It doesn’t bother me for a “for profit” news agency to be Left, Right, or Center. That is what “free speech” is all about, and we can vote with our feet. What bothers me is various media claiming they are “fiar, balanced, and unbiased,” Nonesense; none of them are! They all have an agenda, and that’s okay. Just own up to it, for God’s sake. Now NPR is supposed to be non-profit, listener and tax payer supported. Special rules should apply to them; I have no problem with that.

Ima Crook

November 3rd, 2010
12:59 pm

A great day in Georgia yesterday huh, electing one of the 15 most corrupt people in congress as our Governor? How many of you lying,so called christian, hypocrites voted for him? I sure as hel* didn’t and I am a republican AND a christian!!!

The AJC Stinks

November 3rd, 2010
1:32 pm

I hate npr. GPB stole 100 million dollars from the Hope scholarship fund to build their bloated, and obscene headquarters building. Close gpb, sell the building, and give the money back to the hope scholarship program.


November 3rd, 2010
2:16 pm

“NPR should be defunded, not because of the controversial firing of Juan Williams, but because government should not be not be involved in the news business in the first place.”

I listen to NPR nearly every day. It is the only radio/tv news I can tolerate as all the others are hyper-partisan, overly sensationalist, not intellectually stimulating, or annoying to the point of being abrasive.

However, I would support the end of public money going to NPR if only to shut up the obnoxious pundits right wing pundits who attack NPR for its perceived liberal bias and for receiving public money. (Note – not talking about Bob Barr)! If they have to move to quarterly pledge drives instead of semi-annual pledge drives it would be a fair trade-off.

Also, I think that firing Juan Williams was silly. His comment was honest and expressing it is part of overcoming prejudice — a topic with which Juan is intimately familiar. But, ultimlately it is NPR’s choice to contract with whoever they want.


November 3rd, 2010
2:41 pm

This is so last week.

The AJC Stinks

November 3rd, 2010
2:54 pm

While we are in the firing mood, fire j now!


November 3rd, 2010
3:21 pm

Bob, I agree 100% (in fact, I said essentially the same think on Cynthia Tucker’s blog last week). I think the Corporation for Public Boradcasting provides some fine programming; but that in no way justifies taxing citizens to help pay for it.

“Trapped in a Red State” claims that NPR is the only news source that is unbiased. That is baloney. ALL news sources are biased, whether intentionally or not. There are some (the POTUS channel on SiriusXM Radio comes to mind) that do an excellent job of presenting various viewpoints without disparagng any of them.

It’s ironic that “David B.” calls us idiots for suggesting that we eliminate government sponsorship of a media outlet, then uses Pravda as an example to support his argument. I couldn’t think of a better example of why government shout stay OUT of the media business.

The American public has many news and entertainment sources (with various viewpoints) from which to choose, so funding the CPB really does not serve a critical public need. However, there are two radio networks that taxpayers SHOULD fund: Voice of America (which broadcasts pro-US propaganda to select foreign countries to help counter their regime’s propaganda); and the Armed Forces Radio Network, which serves our troops overseas.

Individual and corporate donations pay for the vast majority of the CPB’s budget today. Those who listen to NPR or who watch PBS should increase their donations (or make a donation in the first place) to offset the loss of taxpayer funds.

Hillbilly Deluxe

November 3rd, 2010
4:27 pm

Why are you only now — after the broadcasting firm does something with which you disagree – clamoring to eliminate federal funding for NPR?

I always did Bob, you just weren’t listening.


November 3rd, 2010
6:52 pm

The government does subsidize all sorts of media groups with use of taxbreaks and tax credits and write-offs for business expenses [including failed projects, those giantic salaries, marketing efforts, etc] and no one suggest that these “private concerns” give back one penney of their profits. At least with NPR and PBS in general, any revenues received from sales are folded back into the programs that sponsor the sales merchandise.

I am a paying patron of PBS and NPR and I find their civility, respect for others and the content of their programs to be more than worth the money that any government entity uses to support their programming. The lack of commericals during the programs is well worth the viewing; one can actually follow a line of thought without all of the annoying commercial hype of broadcast and cable. The variety they offer in all areas of news, investigative journalism, comedy, drama, children’s programming, educational offerings for GED, job seeking, local news, weather and coverage of government, such as the local school boards is priceless.

NO ONE violated Juan Williams free speech rights; PBS just decided to not pay him for his speaking in public, but he is free to speak his mind anytime, but not just anywhere and at anyone’s expense.

John Reith

November 3rd, 2010
10:21 pm

NPR should be defunded, not because of the controversial firing of Juan Williams, but because government should not be not be involved in the news business in the first place. Exactly. Williams is irrelevant to this “fourth estate” issue.

The media (the “fourth estate”) and the State should be completed separated – including financially. Refer to writings of James Madison et al.


November 3rd, 2010
10:37 pm

WOW Bob what a great idea! Then we can all get our news from FOX…Fair Balanced and non political…except of course for those donations to the Republicans.

God forbid the government actually spend a few dollars to educate and inform the public.


November 3rd, 2010
11:49 pm

Google in the input: www. you can find many brand names, even more surprising is that he will sell you the unexpected o(∩_∩)o

dom youngross

November 4th, 2010
12:13 am

Barr displayed the prickly attitude that keeps him in nowheresville.

Why am I now calling for defunding the NPR/NPR member station/PBS/CPB taxpayer money-laundering cabal? Because I’ve gotten my news online via Google News for the last few years and haven’t watched any TV for the last same, that’s why. The Schiller/Williams episode reminded me that a big chunk of ever-growing change was still being spent to partially fund it. If anyone likes NPR or PBS — they can still have it. THEY will just have to pick up the current portion of the taxpayer tab for it.

With Google News I can read articles from tens, hundreds, even thousands of national/international sources, whenever it fits MY schedule. And while reading one article I can open a new window on links contained in that article, or open a tab and Google something that article addresses, all for added lateral and/or historical depth.

To those who claim NPR or Fox News are respectively so great, you missed your time period, which was in the 1960s with only ABC, NBC, and CBS on the B&W tube.

And with Google News I can even stumble across articles from Barr now and then, and help keep him from sinking further into obscurity via an added page hit to the source he writes for.


November 4th, 2010
7:15 am

Hey Trapped,

Took up a collection.. have one way, first-class ticket to Venezuela , free, if you promise you”ll never come back.

bet they have CNN over there, too.


November 4th, 2010
7:49 am

Allowing a company/individual to keep more of its hard earned money is not the same as giving it money that has been forcibly taken from somebody else.


November 4th, 2010
8:00 am

NPR abandonded it’s classical music format for liberal brainwashing years ago. There’s a guy with a very gay voice who is so obnoxious, that I now hate Mozart. There’s another idiot who vocally mugs the words “Dot Com” with a gutteral buzz tone that makes my bones go click-clack, and yes I think the Cartalk guys stink too.

NPR used to play classical music from nine to five. It’s just not fair. Defund Public Radio and lets all give Howard Stern another chance.


November 4th, 2010
8:11 am

I guess it really does not matter if you sign a contract with certain stipulations for you to abide by. You break the contract and then you hold the other party responsible for your actions. Always blame the other party is the present name of the game. Like blame all Muslims. Blame all poor people. Blame all black people-sorry Juan. Blame everyone who has a different opinion than what is expressed here.

Real American

November 4th, 2010
8:32 am

Ok, what if Juan Williams had said he gets nervous around Iris people when they drink, or he gets uneasy when Catholic Priest are around young boys would O’Reilly been quick to defend him?

Juan Williams stero type some one and you bigot conservatives are ok with that as long as its not one of you, he will learn he is just a token for Fox, you notice when Bush was in office you never saw Juan bashing him? Wake up token blacks””’


November 4th, 2010
8:48 am

According to the CPB website, it received some $393 million from Congress in 2008 and $420 million this year.

are you suggesting all this goes to NPR?

Ivan Cohen

November 4th, 2010
9:15 am

Am I understanding you to say that “government should not be involved in the news business” but it is okay for an agent of the government like the military to control what the public should see regarding battlefield conditions in Iraq or Afghanistan. After all our tax dollars pay for those uniforms, guns, planes, bullets and even the personnel. How much real investigative journalism can embedded reporters for CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and all the rest give the American public without being freting on whether they’ll step on the toes of the advertisers? Juan Williams went on to warn against labeling….yeah, right like Bill O’Reilly is going to heed his warning.


November 4th, 2010
9:32 am

Yeah lets get rid of public radio & television . A stupider America is a better America . Let the race to the bottom speed up .


November 4th, 2010
1:19 pm

Hell, Glenn, they wouldn’t have let you be a citizen or vote if you weren’t a chump. Stupider, dumb and dumber is the new triumvirate, (if I may be so pedantic).


November 5th, 2010
6:40 am

Defund those Air Force flyovers at every NASCAR race.
The Army reinactment at the Charlotte race must cost millions and teaches………how to slide down a rope dangling from a helecopter. A skill that will come in handy later in life, if you get a job as a tree remover.

Who needs an endowment for the arts when we got Toby Kieth!?

Neck on my bubbas, neck on.

Smoot Hawley

November 6th, 2010
1:43 pm

I saw Juan out the other night at the Varsity getting some hotdogs and orange drinks with his mama. From what I could tell, Juan’s mama is a ‘nappy-headed ho’….

I feel uneasy getting on a plane with a bunch of guys wearing yarmulkes, because I worry they will pick-pocket me or steal money that I accidentally drop….

November 9th, 2010
2:00 pm

No charges in destruction of CIA tapes…

WASHINGTON — No one will be charged in the destruction of CIA video tapes of interrogations of suspected terrorists during the administration of President George W. Bush, a Justice Department official stated Tuesday. …