A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
The French philosopher, François Marie Arouet (1694–1778), better known as “Voltaire,” is reported to have said: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." When in High School, I learned it as this: “I do not agree with a word you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.”
No matter the exact wording, it is a profound statement and one that has stuck with me, as you might expect, throughout my life.
Last week when NPR “canned” Juan Williams, it sprang forward into the consciousness area of my brain with the force of a mental electrical storm.
Allow me to declare, first of all, that I do not often, if ever, agree with Mr. Williams on his politics or his “social” positions. But the firing of Mr. Williams, for expressing his honest opinion, was, well, beyond the pale. It was simply incredible, meaning, – unbelievable.
If NPR has proved anything it is this -- if you work for them you had better toe the leftist line or you will be shown the door.
As a 30 year veteran of the private broadcasting industry, now thankfully retired, I must tell you that what the public just learned, last week, about public broadcasting has been whispered about for many decades by those in the private broadcasting sector. Liberals control it. That is not the way it is supposed to be. But alas, as we all learned last week, that is the way it is.
Public funding of a broadcasting organization today is unacceptable – period. In our opinion, all federal monies should be immediately cut off to NPR and even to CPB. If they cannot make it on donations from like-minded individuals then allow them to sink and disappear from the broadcasting scene.
As a taxpayer it galls me, no end, that my tax dollars are applied to assist in financing an organization that has the capacity to act as a cheerleader for politicians, for the government, or for any political agenda. It is just wrong on so many levels.
The Washington Examiner recently published an article entitled: “Kenneth Tomlinson: Why Congress must defund public broadcasting.” Mr. Tomlinson served a term-limited two years as chairman of the CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting). Tomlinson is the former editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest. In the article Mr. Tomlinson said the following: “I literally had public broadcasting liberals explain to me that the taxpayer was obligated to fund NPR to provide the public balance to Rush Limbaugh. Of course liberals were about all I encountered in public broadcasting.
Senator Jim DeMint (R), of my home state of South Carolina, wants to cut off all federal funding for NPR. According to news reports a spokesman for the senator’s office has confirmed the South Carolina Republican plans to introduce legislation to end federal funding for NPR.
Back in June, of this year, Colorado Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn introduced legislation in the House to cut funding for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting after fiscal year 2012. That bill is in committee as we write.
Juan Williams, himself, called for defunding of NPR, last week, after being fired for expressing an opinion on Fox News Channel. Williams said: “If they want to compete in the marketplace, they should compete in the marketplace,” Williams made this statement in an interview on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends”. Williams went on to say: “They don’t need public funds. I think that they should go out there. They think their product is so great, go out and sell the product.” Williams also said: “And too often, they make it out like, ‘you know what, we are a public jewel and we need the protection of the federal government, we need federal funds that come through the member stations and they pay for this product.’ Nonsense,” he said. (SOURCE) (This is one of the rare occassions we agree with Mr. Williams.)
Nonsense, indeed! A new GOP government should take immediate steps to defund NPR and CPB.