blessed be my enemies; they bring out the best in me


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More important to the magician’s tools than smoke and mirrors is the simple sleight of hand created by getting people to focus on some red herring while the magician stealthily work just outside the bounds of his audience’s perception.

This is all well and good in the world of “magic” as we are willing participants in the deception—the whole deceptive act is, in fact, a form of great entertainment for many.

But when this deception occurs where it ought not occur—say, in the form of state-sponsored media—we would do well to remain skeptical and look for any possible sleight of hand…and not be so easily distracted and so credulous as to take the man-on-the-stage’s claims at face value.

PBS and NPR often claim they are objective, non-partisan purveyors of news and entertainment. Their defenders may even cite the occasional studies showing that their news programming provides relatively equal times for politicians on “both sides of the aisle”. And they claim that very little of their funding comes from taxpayers (implying, of course, that even if there were a liberal bias across their organizations, it wasn’t like it was costing conservatives too much in the grand scheme of things…so just pipe down you ignorant conservatives!).

To the intellectually torpid and hopelessly partisan, such professions—and purely superficial analytical “evidence”—of integrity and objectivity will suffice. But for the rest of us, this simply will not do.

Instead, let’s look for what’s really going on beneath the words. Let’s look where the real action lies. Let’s, to borrow a phrase, “follow the money.”

A few days ago, House Republicans unveiled a set of decently-sized budget cuts in an effort to demonstrate some horribly-lacking leadership on the dire fiscal crisis the country now finds itself in after six years of Democratic control of Congress (not to mention a half century of Liberal Establishment hegemony). One of those cuts was the defunding of NPR and PBS. That is, the government would no longer subsidize these organizations through their myriad financing channels (Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, Department of Education, etc.), and thus these entities would have to sink or float based upon their merits (or lack thereof)…just like any other private business in America.

Now, given NPR’s brass’s constant pooh-poohing of any talk of defunding as a “useless” exercise (since they only receive some purported 2% of their funding from taxpayers, and thus defunding serves no material federal budgetary benefit), you would think that the Republican proposal would be a winning proposition for NPR and PBS because a) losing only 2% of their revenue would be an easy loss to absorb, and b) it would exonerate NPR/PBS of the constant conservative charge of being a liberal “state-run media” outfit, thus allowing them to stay largely outside of the political fray given that they are, according to their own claims, “objective, impartial, and non-partisan”.

Of course, this was not NPR’s reaction to the cuts. In fact, a couple of the cartoon characters from their children’s programming will be accompanying some Democratic congressmen to Capitol Hill today to voice their opposition. (See, e.g., here.)

So, if NPR is worried about losing a purported 2% of their funding that is, by their repeated invocations, “negligible”, I take this to mean that they pull in much more than 2% from taxpayers. How could this be? Wouldn’t someone have called them out on this “2%” number since it started getting bandied about on the heels of the deplorable Juan Williams fiasco?

Well, that’s not such an easy one to answer. Apparently the sources of NPR’s funds are incredibly murky…at best. (See, e.g., here.) Side note: How’s that for “transparency”?

Next, you’ll notice that it was Republicans who proposed axing NPR’s funding, with conservatives—justifiably frustrated for being forced to fund a media outlet that, to their eyes, is but one more means by which to ridicule and marginalize them—cheering it on.

You’ll also notice that it is solely
Democratic congressmen who are pulling in the PBS heartstring-tuggers (i.e., cartoon characters…seriously…the ever-infantile mentality of the left) to protest the funding cuts.

So, if Republicans are unanimous that PBS/NPR funding—regardless of how large or small—is an unnecessary federal expenditure and thus should be eliminated as part of some much-needed and long-overdue fiscal discipline, and it is only Democrats who are insisting that the funding is crucial…might that make one a bit suspicious that there may be some substance to the claims of liberal bias pervasive throughout this news and “children’s programming” (don’t let the double entrende escape ya!) media conglomerate?

No? Still dubious?

Ok, what if I told you that the most far-left President in the history of the United States of America has not only refused to consider cutting funding, but actually just proposed his own budget in which he increased funding for NPR/PBS?

And then what about if NPR issued a public “thank you” to said far-left President for this proposed increase?

Still unsure?

Ok, what about MoveOn.org—the nation’s liberals’ “grass-roots” operation that is owned and operated by about the most radically-left leftists—creating a petition to “save NPR” from evil Republican defunding efforts?

Quote (emphasis mine):

“Congress must save NPR and PBS once and for all. Congress should guarantee permanent funding and independence from partisan meddling.”

(The crass Orwellian doublespeak and Statist-media-control messaging in MoveOn’s statement above is a clear indicator of both the desperation of the left, and why they are rightly despised with such passion by anyone with a brain and a conscience.)

What then? What should one conclude when nearly every facet of the hardcore liberal establishment comes out in defense of an opaquely taxpayer-funded news and “children’s programming” media conglom when faced with unanimous conservative desire to remove its public funding?

Is this not seeing the sleight of hand for what it is? Is this not telling of a left-leaning bias—however well concealed, however well removed from public perception—throughout our venerated NPR and PBS programming?


The common wisdom is that you know who your true friends are when the chips are down. Well, for NPR at least, the chips are down; their public funding is on the chopping block. And the only people to come to NPR’s defense are—wholly and solely—leftists.

And you don’t gain leftists’ loyalty by maintaining a strict discipline of political impartiality, do you? No, quite the opposite, in fact.

And so, wouldn’t you agree, that there is perhaps something up the sleeve of those fighting for NPR’s funding that we should be paying more attention to?

I certainly do.

And now I must conclude with this obligatory Jefferson quote:

“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
Thomas Jefferson

Written by Ex Machina

February 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm

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