Juan Williams: Defund NPR

posted at 8:48 am on March 21, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

After being fired from NPR for expressing a controversial opinion on Fox News — along with a suggestion that he had mental problems — Juan Williams remained supportive of federal funding for public broadcasting.  What Vivian Schiller couldn’t do, apparently House Democrats could.  After the DCCC sent out a fundraising letter based on Democratic support for NPR lauding its ability to get out the progressive message, Williams now says enough is enough:

But last week my line of defense for NPR ran into harsh political realities. Rep. Steve Israel (D- N.Y.) chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out a fundraising letter with the following argument for maintaining public funding of NPR:

“They [Republicans] know NPR plays a vital role in providing quality news programming – from rural radio stations to in-depth coverage of foreign affairs. If the Republicans had their way, we’d only be left with the likes of Glenn Beck, Limbaugh and Sarah Palin to dominate the airwaves.”

With that statement Congressman Israel made the case better than any  Republican critic that NPR is radio by and for liberal Democrats. He is openly asking liberal Democrats to give money to liberal Democrats in Congress so they can funnel federal dollars into news radio programs designed to counter and defeat conservative Republican voices.

Rep. Israel has unintentionally endorsed every conservative complaint about NPR as a liberal mouthpiece.

Kudos to Williams for his honesty and open-mindedness.  The Democrats fear the end of control over NPR that comes with federal funding.   Williams writes that NPR has to “stick its finger in the wind” to ensure that its Capitol Hill patrons like their coverage in order to ensure that their funding continues, and whatever else that might be, it’s not journalism in any significant sense.  Rep. Israel has let the cat out of the bag and revealed the real reason Democrats keep funding NPR, which is that they believe that progressives can’t compete in the marketplace.

But Israel’s missive reveals even more than that.  It confirms that progressivism is antithetical to open markets and private enterprise.  Israel and the DCCC want to keep government in the position of picking winners and losers in markets through heavy-handed interventions, a form of corporatism that distorts markets and leads to irrational and inefficient outcomes.  That’s true in every area of enterprise, from health care to the Internet and to political thought.  It’s an elitist philosophy that assumes that everyone except for an elect few lack the sentient ability to choose for themselves.  If progressives can’t get good ratings, well, it’s because the sheeple need to be spoon-fed progressivism at their own expense!

Hopefully Williams will someday realize that the NPR episode is merely a single manifestation of a larger problem with liberals and Democrats.  That column will be awesome.  Until then, this one’s well worth the read, too.

Besides, do we really need to throw taxpayer dollars at this smug and utterly heartless example of NPR humor?

The “best and brightest” include a Muslim comedian named Maz Jabrani, whom NPR has been promoting as“the face of Middle Eastern humor in America today.”

Judging from his latest bit performed on this weekend’s show, the face of Middle Eastern humor looks a lot like the face of your typical CAIR mouthpiece. Tea Party-bashers Ron Schiller and Vivian Schiller may be gone and the House may have defunded the public radio enterprise, but the conservatives=racist smear narrative is alive and well at NPR. ….

The premise of Jobrani’s p.c. comedy gag is completely false, as actual readers of my work know. I was one of the first conservatives to criticize Birthers who go to the extreme and have never accused President Obama of being a “secret Muslim.” To the contrary, I’ve criticized him for his rather open and out-of-the-closet apologias for jihad and his perfunctory, bloodless, vague public condemnations of Islamic terror attacks on Americans. As for my “fear that there are Muslims amongst us who are hiding their true identity,” go ask Attorney General Eric Holder what “keeps him up at night.”

Jamie Huston sums it up well:

NPR’s mistake goes far beyond mere slander. Their joke targeted the family of a specific conservative at a time when that specific conservative’s family is suffering a tragedy. Quite a coincidence. It’s been two weeks since Malkin’s cousin Marizela Perez went missing…Malkin has used her media presence tirelessly since then to help find her young relative. Either NPR and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me are not nearly as well-informed in their news awareness as they’d like us to believe, or they cruelly decided to go ahead with a particularly tasteless joke.

Ironically, just before this segment aired, they made fun of Gilbert Gottfried getting fired for his tasteless jokes about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Pot, meet kettle…

…On top of that, here comes a radio show that singles her out during this crisis and makes fun of not just her, but goes out of its way to talk about her family. …If she were a liberal and Glenn Beck had made a joke like this, the mainstream media would be calling for blood.

Michelle has been my friend for many years, and for a couple of years my boss as well.  She’s certainly not above being criticized, as Michelle herself would be the first to tell you; in fact, when I first started writing here, Michelle said she looked forward to getting into open disagreements with me between our blogs, although those were few (but memorable).  But criticism of Michelle should stick to what she actually writes and says, not with silly strawmen that lie and mischaracterize her position — and shouldn’t involve her family at all.

Remember, your tax dollars went to support this.  And they shouldn’t.

Update: Michelle has an update on the search for her cousin Marizela Perez, and the fundraising that is allowing her family to work full time on finding her.  Keep up to date at FindMarizela, and thank you in advance for your generosity.


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