Sen. Jim DeMint, one of the biggest fiscal hawks in the U.S. Senate and probably the chamber's most conservative member across the board, says Congress should yank funding from both NPR and PBS in response to the Juan Williams firing.
Williams, a conservative political analyst, was fired yesterday for comments made about Muslims on Fox's The O'Reily Factor. Debate quickly ensued over whether Williams had actually said anything offensive, and conservatives spoke out against the firing forcefully yesterday, with a handful of voices--including the watchdog group Media Research Center--calling for congressional committees to investigate.
Here's what DeMint had to say today, in an announcement that just went out to reporters:
"Once again we find the only free speech liberals support is the speech with which they agree. The incident with Mr. Williams shows that NPR is not concerned about providing the listening public with an honest debate of today's issues, but rather with promoting a one-sided liberal agenda," said Senator DeMint.
"Since 2001, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds programming for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service, has received nearly $4 billion in taxpayer money," said DeMint. "The country is over $13 trillion in debt and Congress must find ways to start trimming the federal budget to cut spending. NPR and PBS get about 15 percent of their total budget through federal funding, so these programs should be able to find a way to stand on their own. With record debt and unemployment, there's simply no reason to force taxpayers to subsidize a liberal programming they disagree with."
"We can't keep borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars from China each year to fund public radio and public TV when there are so many choices already in the market for news and entertainment. If CPB is defunded, taxpayers will save billions. This is just one of the many cuts Congress should make next year.
"I plan to introduce legislation to defund CPB and force a vote on it as well as other measures to start getting our fiscal house in order," said Senator DeMint.
If DeMint gets his way, NPR and PBS will depend solely on the support of corporate sponsors...and viewers like you.