I wasn’t exactly “shocked, shocked” when I heard fundraisers on a local public television station imploring viewers to urge Congress to support federal funding for PBS. I was, however, a bit surprised, since using public money to lobby for more government support seemed to me a clear no-no.
Apparently the “smarter-than-thou” haughtiness that oozes from NPR microphones has now infected folks charged with convincing people that a cultural Armageddon awaits if the Corporation for Public Broadcasting doesn’t get its annual federal fix of 432 million bucks.
Unfortunately for PBS aficionados, it was President Obama’s own bipartisan budget commission that last year recommended eliminating funding for CPB in view of the country’s massive 1.5 trillion dollar annual and 14 trillion dollar total debt.
Mr. Obama, however, promptly ignored the Simpson-Bowles report and continued to fund the organization headed, until her recent resignation, by former Senior New York Times Vice-President, Vivian Schiller.
Amid this budget battle, the firing of analyst Juan Williams didn’t help PBS’s insistence that it’s an impartial source for news. Williams only said out loud what almost all the flying public thinks when an individual with distinctive Muslim garb boards a flight. Under Schiller’s publicly funded regime, such honesty was a firing offense.
Recently a “news-sting” operation provided more evidence of what any politically sentient observer knows—that CPB’s culture is overwhelmingly leftist. This undercover operation involved two men posing as members of the Muslim Brotherhood and discussing a possible five-million dollar donation to NPR.
During their conversation with now-fired NPR executive Ron Schiller (no relation to Vivian), the former Schiller accused the Tea Party and the GOP of being “fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian.” Schiller also called the Tea Party “a weird evangelical kind of move(ment)” and “xenophobic”—a group filled with “white, middle-America, gun-toting” and “seriously racist, racist people.”
After gratuitously taking off his NPR hat and expressing his own “personal” views, Schiller added that Republicans have an “anti-intellectual” bent and that “liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives.”
These “fair and balanced” thoughts probably strike most “gun-toting” Tea Partiers in North County and Riverside County as more than a bit obtuse. Schiller’s comments certainly won’t generate many donations from that quarter during the regular appeals made by those perky PBS hostesses.
In many respects CPB is a news and education version of the corrupt relationship that now exists between public-sector unions and governments at all levels—a relationship in which, as George Will put it, “Government sits on both sides of the table.” Except in this case government sponsors a pledge drive directed at itself.