Gee, the same NPR which fired Juan Williams for so-called “anti-Muslim bigotry” didn’t get upset earlier when its legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg declared that if there were such a thing as “retributive justice,” Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) would “get AIDS from a transfusion or one of his grandchildren would get it.” Nice, huh? Williams was until Wednesday a contracted news analyst for it while Totenberg is higher on the pecking order—a correspondent. Of course NPR follows the elitist model of commentary….meaning that liberal opinions, even if expressed in derogatory terms, are warranted but those that aren’t reflect a conservative mind-set which to this partially federal funded “news organization” is unacceptable.
Anti-Christian views are okay—as when on the network so-called leftwing humorist Andrei Codrescu called “the evaporation of 4 million [Christians] who believe” in the doctrine of the Rapture…the belief of some Christians that on the Last Day all Christians would be gathered in midair to greet the returning Jesus Christ… “would leave the world a better place.” That’s just sophisticated humor, my friends…straight from the Harvard faculty lounge (where I used to hear similar outrages prompting snickers from those whose secular religion is relativism—the belief that no belief is certain: the contradiction Socrates punctured 5,000 years ago but which still endures among the trendy). No, being anti-Christian is not bigoted…just recognition that professed Christians are-are so gauche.
Nor is being anti-Semitic if you qualify your views by becoming a bleeding heart for the poor Palestinians who have been treated so rudely by the Jews and where dispossessed of their land to make room for the new arrivals—forgetting that Jews had original claim. Bigoted is worrying about fellow passengers in Muslim dress on your airplane… notwithstanding that 97% of terrorism today doesn’t come from the IRA or the German Communist Bader-Meinhof Groupbut from Islamist extremists who are…sorry!....Muslims and dressed like those on your plane.
And get the classy way the CEO of NPR Vivian Schiller saluted the departure of Juan Williams in a speech to the Atlanta Press Club: He should have kept his feelings about Muslims between himself “and his psychiatrist or publicist.” In other words Williams is mentally or emotionally disturbed. Well she apologized publicly afterward via her own publicist. She is a former senior vice president of The New York Times—and, of course, that figures. Her follow-up statement is interesting although illogical.
It says: “A critical distinction has been lost in this debate. NPR News analysts have a distinctive role and set of responsibilities. This is a very different role than that of columnist or analyst. News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts and that’s what’s happened in this situation.”
Hold it Ms. Schiller. In the hierarchy of NPR, a correspondent…such as Nina Totenberg…is a major rung higher than a contracted analyst. How did Totenberg escape unscathed from expressing the wish that Helms and/or his grandchildren get infected with the AIDS virus?
“As you know we offer views of all kinds on your [sic] air but those views are expressed by those we interview—not our reporters and analysts.” Big whopper there.
Here are the facts on NPR’s funding as per Schiller. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting receives $90 million a year and the greatest part of it goes to member public radio stations. NPR applies for grants from varied sources including private foundations and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It represents from 1 to 3% of its total budget. It exists on $160 million a year from station fees and dues, corporate underwriting and philanthropic contributions from individuals, corporations and earned income as well as earnings from its endowment.
The point here is this: Why with the multiplicity of news outlets operating in the private marketplace should the taxpayers fund either public radio or public television? Is it a coincidence that public taxpayer-funded stations and networks have adopted a liberal, Obama-like stance on public issues? No. I defy anyone to find a public radio or public TV outlet that does not shade the news leftward. WTTW is a case in point. Carol Marin the ace liberal propagandist…the ring-bearer for same-sex weddings…is paid handsomely, partially with taxpayer dollars. Terrific!
The answer should be to unhorse…defund…them and let them get their funds totally from “people like you.” Carol would just have to struggle along and make do with her two other salaries: from The Sun-Times and NBC-TV Chicago channel 5. Gawd are we so bereft of journalistic talent that we have to rely on one near-60 female circa 1960s activist to cover politics? But that’s another issue.