GOP chasing more straw men, this time at NPR

Gad. Juan Williams steps over the line on Fox, NPR says this hurts his credibility as an analyst and discontintues his contract, suddenly the Republican Party is screaming censorship and accusing NPR of being “Liberal,” which, from what I can tell, means not being a toady to their every desire. As Colbert once said only half-jesting, “Everyone knows that the truth has a distinctly liberal slant.”

I never much cared for Williams. Didn’t like his radio voice, didn’t see him as that insightful. His playing a double game on Fox didn’t help either.

Now the GOP is screaming to defund NPR. Why is this a straw man? Because, as the CEO of NPR makes clear in this interview, the federal government doesn’t give NPR all that much money.

This is yet another example of the screaming full-court press the GOP uses, very effectively, to completely overshadow any reasonable conversation in this country. Truth is irrelevant, facts less so. Mr. Williams makes the handy foil this time. I wonder if he’s bright enough to see that he’s being used? 

Truth: Williams was out of line. Not sure what he was doing working for two companies anyway, although the NPR CEO says several people do it, so OK then, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to pay attention to the standards.

Is this censorship? Of course not. Williams is free to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants, but no news organization is under any obligation to pay him to do so. I can say what I want, when I want, but if I want the Standard-Examiner to pay me to do it, I have to follow their rules, which is one reason I don’t take public stands outside of my column, even to the point of never having yard signs on my front lawn during elections.

Mr. Williams is no different.

I find it highly amusing that Williams says NPR was gunning for him. That’s the last gasp of someone who’s looking for a way out  and wants to blame it on the people he’s leaving. Anyone who has ever had to deal with a drama-queen rebellious teen knows how that game plays out.

And he stepped right into a $2 million contract at Fox? How cozy. How convenient. And what a coincidence, Fox just happened to have a $2 million slot available!

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14 Responses to GOP chasing more straw men, this time at NPR

  1. nwahs says:

    You don’t sound the least bit objective about this. You also don’t even do cursory check of Schiller’s drivel.

    Here are facts which she is lying about, lying by omission.

    NPR gets over 50% of its revenue from dues it charges member stations. Those member stations get 40% of their revenue from tax dollars. So 50% of NPR’s revenue is made up of 40% tax dollars. That makes 20% of NPR’s revenue tax dollars.

    If the amount is so small as Schiller claims, I’m sure there will be no objection in congress to cut all funding to NPR and its member stations.

  2. Mike Johnson says:

    “According to the 2005 financial statement, NPR makes just over half of its money from the fees and dues it charges member stations to receive programming. Public funding accounts for 16% of the average member station’s revenue, with 10% of this coming in the form of grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a federally funded organization. Some more of that money originates from local and state governments and government-funded universities subsidizing member stations’ fees and dues to NPR. Member stations that serve rural and “minority” communities receive significantly more funding from the CPB; in some cases up to 70%..”

  3. Mike Johnson says:

    “NPR has been distancing itself from Williams for quite a while now, changing his title and reducing his role at NPR amid increasing discomfort over the views he has voiced as a pundit on Fox News Channel. Back in 2009, when Williams described first lady Michelle Obama of evoking the spirit of radical Black Panther Stokely Carmichael, NPR asked him not to use his identification with their organization on Fox News. They had already changed his title from correspondent — which implies an objective journalistic role — to news analyst, which allows opinionating.

  4. ctrentelman says:

    so, nwahs, juan williams is SO good and SO blameless that you’re willing to cut off funding to an entire network of 100s of radio stations, putting thousands of people out of work, in the name of ….. what, exactly? Preventing censorship of Williams’ magical words that never occurred?

    wow. keep you away from the nuclear button. This is Exactly what I was talking about.

    not to mention, those affiliate stations are NOT NPR. They’re affiliate stations. They’re independent entities. Drop down to KUER some time, I’m sure they’ll be glad to show you how their funding works.

  5. Doug Gibson says:

    I’d be interested in knowing if NPR received pressure from its listeners to have Williams canned. I can’t imagine any Fox News viewers caring that Williams worked for NPR. I never did. I find it interesting, Charlie, that Media Matters, a group you have cited in the past, is going after Mara Liasson, another NPR analyst who is frequently on Fox. One of the myths of the left is Fox has no balance in its guests. I watch Fox and MSNBC a lot, and the former has far more liberals in its commentary shows than the latter. For the record, I have no problem — other than the unfortunate perception it brings — with NPR receiving tax dollars. I wondered yesterday if it was a good idea, and it probably is.

  6. nwahs says:

    ctrentelma, I was clarifying the facts. You draw any conclusion you want, but please ask yourself why the CEO of NPR is lying about the amount of federal funds it receives.

    And no, the tax dollars should not be funding an organization with a political agenda. Its that simple.

  7. nwahs says:

    “Public broadcasting stations are funded by a combination of private donations from members, foundations and corporations (60.4% of 2006 total revenues of all stations), state and local taxes (22.2% of 2006 total revenues), local and national underwriting, and federal funds, principally through CPB (17.3% of 2006 total revenues).[4]”

    40% of the dues NPR charges come from tax dollars – local and federal. Those dues account for just over 50% of NPR’s revenues, and yet Schiller infers only 1% of NPR’s comes from tax dollars. If you have to lie, you are on a sinking boat.

  8. Justin Owen says:


    Wikipedia also says “NPR receives no direct funding from the federal government.[18] The amount of funding NPR receives from groups like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which does receive federal funding, is less than two percent.”

    Better sources please.

  9. ctrentelman says:

    i would like to thank nwahs for proving my point, at great length — he’s and his ilk are willing to call for the demise of a vast communications infrastructure over the dismissal of one not-so-good analyst, who already had problems, because the goal is to raise a huge stink over some minor detail, control the debate with unfounded allegations (that’s the federal-funds-for-political-agenda part) and then get huffy when so-called liberals don’t roll over.

    williams wasn’t that good. he’ll fit right in at fox. they have lower standards there.

  10. ctrentelman says:

    doug, i’m fascinated that you wonder if listeners pressured npr. Not even Williams has claimed that. And, as I am sure everyone here will agree, NPR are such liberal weenies they’d never think to protest.

    Seriously, how about this: NPR has guidelines for outside behavior of its employees just like many major news organizations, including the Standard-Examiner, have. Mr. Williams violated those guidelines. He got fired.

    The S-E has fired people for less. And it was right. Why is NPR not allowed to handle its employees with the same allowance for managerial control? As Slate points out, unless he has a contract that says otherwise, he works under precisely the same criteria as you and I — at will, meaning he, and we, can be canned any time for any reason or no reason.

    Which, by the way, is a rock-solid tenet of the conservative side of the hall. Another reason all the shouting now is suspect. What next, Sarah Palin demands a union to protect the jobs of commentators? THAT I’d like to see.

  11. Owain says:

    If NPR receives such a scant amount of federal funding, then it will have no impact on their operations will it? What’s the fuss, then? Those funds could probably be of far greater use elsewhere. Even left in the pockets of individual taxpayer’s, perhaps.

    Smaller government, less taxes.

  12. nwahs says:

    “i would like to thank nwahs for proving my point, at great length — he’s and his ilk are willing to call for the demise of a vast communications infrastructure over the dismissal of one not-so-good analyst, who already had problems, because the goal is to raise a huge stink over some minor detail, control the debate with unfounded allegations (that’s the federal-funds-for-political-agenda part) and then get huffy when so-called liberals don’t roll over.”

    I did all that by saying tax dollars shouldn’t be funding an organization with a political agenda? I did that by posting NPR receives tax dollars directly and *indirectly* and posting the sources? What happened to that appreciation of truth?

    I think NPR does fine reporting. They have an incompetent CEO who will lead them into political bias. Even she now admits it was handled very badly. The cost is NPR’s integrity. But even in her admission that it was handled badly, she can’t accept the she personally stepped out of bounds in her personal attacks against Juan Williams. She states she spoke “hastily.” The fact is she spoke childishly or vindictively. Not hastily. Here words were carefully chosen to be witty and hurtful.

    I don’t want to see the demise of NPR . Thats exactly why Schiller should be shown the door.

  13. Michael Trujillo says:


    You should try actually LISTENING to NPR. There was much discussion on the air last week on both the locally produced and nationally produced NPR programs regarding this issue, with on-air commentators AND audience members giving their opinions. The reaction is mixed; there are arguments for both positions (firing/not firing) from NPR staff and listeners alike. This has been an excellent example of a media outlet providing a forum for balanced discussion about an issue. It even provided a couple of jokes for “Wait, wait, don’t tell me.”

    For the record, I’ve heard NPR hosts and commentators questioning the decision to fire him. There has been the kind of broad dialogue on NPR that you can only hope for on your blogs regarding Juan Williams’ comment and the consequences thereof.

    So, take it from a loyal NPR listener, this has been a learning opportunity for NPR and its listeners alike.

    Now, go back to following your sports events that are frequently played in stadiums and auditoriums that are built and maintained with tax payer funds. It’s easer to pick on a lowly radio network that gets more listener traffic than you can ever hope for on your Standard-Examiner website than it is to take an honest look at how much your life is impacted by a wide variety of government funding.

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