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As Long As We’re Defunding Media… Rep. McGovern Takes A Page From GOP Playbook

March 16, 2011


During the House Rules Committee meeting today, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) called the bluff of GOP colleagues looking to defund National Public Radio.

“Mr. Chairman, some of my Republican colleagues have talked about the need for this bill because of concerns about the deficit.  They don’t believe that the federal taxpayer should subsidize public radio.”

But of course it’s not about the deficit. It’s about ideology and the belief on the right that NPR is liberally biased. They’re simply using deficit fear to justify something they’ve long wished to do. After all, we’re talking about a mere $80 million out of a $3.5 trillion budget.

So McGovern, working from the ideological angle, offered an amendment to the NPR defunding bill which may hit a little too close to home for the GOP:

“In any case, there is absolutely no reason to cut off funds for NPR because of this issue.  There is no reason to jeopardize the news and entertainment that millions and millions of Americans rely on and enjoy.

But if you insist on going down this road, Mr. Chairman, then we should be “fair and balanced” in the way we do it.

Over the past several years, it has become clear that the Fox News channel is wildly biased.  They continue to employ a talk show host who called President Obama a racist.  They continue to employ several prospective Republican Presidential candidates as “analysts,” giving them hours and hours of free air time.  And their parent company has donated millions to GOP-linked groups.

My amendment would prohibit federal funds – taxpayer dollars – from being used for advertising on the partisan, political platform of Fox News.

If my friends on the other side of the aisle want to strip funding from NPR because they believe – wrongly, in my view – that NPR is biased, then we should be given the same opportunity.”

He has a fair point. Government funds go to subsidize for-profit media outlets all the time through advertising dollars. As Rep. McGovern went on to point out, the Department of Defense spends around $600 million per year alone. Ultimately, however, it doesn’t matter. The House is controlled by Republicans intent on taking down public broadcasting. McGovern’s amendment did not pass out of committee.

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