"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

NPR Self-Immolates

In some prior age, perhaps it made sense to use tax dollars to fund National Public Radio.   Perhaps there were too few alternatives, and too high of barriers to entry for stations that would provide services of high cultural or intellectual merit.   The same argument at some point might have held true for PBS -- once there were only three major television networks, and there perhaps was a need for a publicly-funded, high culture alternative.   Maybe... you would hope that people would still question the morality of taxing working people to pay for rich people's cultural pretensions.   You want "Fresh Air," yuppie, you pay for it!   You want "Masterpiece Theater," Mr. and Mrs. Ivy League Snob, pony up!  But at least there was an argument for it.

Now, of course, with the endless array of entertainment and cultural fare available for free on the Internet, or else available over cable or through Netflix or by buying a DVD, etc., there is literally no reason for NPR or PBS to be publicly-funded.   We don't have the money, and, even if we did, there would be better things to spend it on.  

But today's story of the NPR Senior Vice-President being caught on camera talking to two men he thought were representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood about how "racist" the Republican Party and the Tea Party are, and how we need to have more "Muslim voices" on the air and more balance about stories about the Middle East may be the last nail in the coffin for federal funding of public broadcasting.   Brought to you by the same guy, James O'Keefe, who brought down ACORN, it's a remarkable piece:

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