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Republicans Plan to Make the P in NPR “Private”

John on December 12, 2010 at 5:09 pm

They’re not giving up according to Politico:

Republicans are gearing up to make another run at NPR’s funding next year — and at least one NPR board member thinks the network itself vulnerable to Republican criticism by taking the Open Society grant.

“In retrospect, knowing what I know now, would I rather that the first money had come from somewhere else? Probably yes,” said Steve Bass, president and CEO of Oregon Public Broadcasting and a member of NPR’s board. But, he added, “I know the folks at NPR very well, and we have very strong editorial guidelines.”

Still, NPR’s decision to take “Soros money” has turned into a political gift to the Republicans, allowing the party to go after a longtime favorite target in public media with the new and shiny culture war weapon of Soros, while scoring political points for getting tough on federal spending.

After much discussion of Soros giving to the NPR, the story finally comes back to the question of how NPR plans to avoid the cuts. Politico seems to suggest that one possibility would be to throw Vivian Schiller under the bus:

Although Schiller apologized for the way the firing was handled, some member station executives questioned her ability to lead NPR throughout the political battle ahead during a meeting two days after Republicans swept the midterms, Current reported. So far, Schiller maintains the board’s support.

The board met on Nov. 12, and “we walked out of that meeting supporting Vivian,” Bass said.

Rehm emphasized that Schiller was also put in charge of the ethics review at that meeting, which represented another vote of confidence.

But if Schiller remains, she is likely to also remain a lightning rod for Republican criticism. Last month, for instance, Franks signed a letter by his colleague Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) that called on Schiller to resign.

That wouldn’t do it for me and I hope not for all the new Republicans in the House either. There’s no excuse for spending a dime of money on NPR. It’s time to kick the baby bird out of the nest and its TV sibling CPB along with it.

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