NPR listeners do not share Schiller’s views

By Emon Reiser

Guest Columnist

Published: Sunday, March 20, 2011

Updated: Sunday, March 20, 2011

Your media is being controlled.

 It's not just your news stations. I'm talking about your magazines, radio stations, books, movies and sports. There are half a dozen companies that own 90 percent of mass media and these corporations are monopolizing American culture — and they might own more before the year is out.

The House recently voted in favor of eliminating funding for National Public Radio and its satellite stations all over the country. NPR is likely to be vulnerable to the sort of brand-named news these companies dish out should their federal funding be eliminated.

Media is so concentrated because most news outlets are being bought out by these huge corporations.

 The bill came from the co-chairs of President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. If passed, the $500 million allotted to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Public Radio and its affiliated stations will be eliminated from the federal budget.

NPR gives the sort of in-depth stories with details that other news stations ignore entirely. I rely on NPR to get useful, concise and ongoing coverage and they always deliver. It is the last of independent stations with a standard that has not been met by any other news outlet.

The bill also eliminates public radio from using federal funds to buy NPR programming and grants for the news outlet, along with making public radio pay dues for programming. This comes after a conservative activist went undercover and shot footage of Ron Schiller, former president of the NPR foundation, calling Tea Party members xenophobic and racist.

I suppose if the House needed an excuse to justify voting essentially to cut away a national fountainhead of information to the public that would be it. That's exactly what it is: an excuse.

Schiller had already resigned before his disparaging remarks were recorded. His resignation, as representatives of NPR state, has nothing to do with his unfortunate choice of words. Schiller might have been commenting on the head-stomping extremist Tea Party members who get media coverage that celebs in rehab would envy. But whether or not they were made in that vein or taken out of context, I don't believe they are a justification to cut valuable funding from NPR.

Schiller also said in the footage that the federal funding NPR receives is one percent of its total income and ten percent of the station economy. He said they would be "better off" not having the public funding. NPR fired back that the quality of the publication would be greatly reduced should the help they receive be eliminated.

CEO of NPR, Vivian Schiller — no relation to Ron Schiller — has also resigned in the wake of the footage surfacing despite the many comments from NPR that Ron Schiller's views do not reflect its own.

I have a problem with legislation that cuts funding to America's knowledge base. Why Washington looks first to education when the national change purse is light is beyond me — and now they are peering at public news, inviting competition where it doesn't belong.

NPR news was the first source I went to in the confusion following the disaster in Japan. I know I was not alone. According to a statement released by NPR, it is one of the few media outlets that has "consistently grown — doubling in the last decade alone." They claim 37 million listeners, which reaches more citizens than the top 120 newspapers in circulation combined.

The Walt Disney company is the third-largest global media conglomerate and owns the rights to media outlets such as The History Channel, ESPN, NFL.com and nearly 80 other large companies.

I don't want my primary source of news and my link to what's happening in the world to be a watered-down theme park advertisement sprinkled with the latest viral YouTube videos.

We have local news for that sort of nonsense.

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