NPR Shouldn’t Exist But I’m Glad It Does
Many of us who have philosophical objections to public radio nonetheless like the results.
I enjoy having a radio station that isn’t devoted to shouting matches or extremely partisan and that isn’t littered with obnoxious commercials. I enjoy the level, sober reporting and analysis you get at NPR. I realize all of this is made possible by tax dollars, but a big part of me doesn’t care.
The arguments against state-run media are good ones, but I worry that we’d lose a very good source of news if we got rid of NPR.
I don’t listen to NPR as much as I used to, having replaced much of my radio listening with Sirius NFL Radio. But I agree that, despite a leftist bent on some issues, it takes a very thoughtful and unique approach to news. Even Diane Rehm, who I find generally grating, manages to secure some excellent guests and manage thoughtful conversations with them despite her annoying and simplistic editorializing.
Still, I have philosophical objections to the public funding that goes to it. (Although, contra Miller, it’s not “taxpayer funded” but merely “taxpayer supported.” Most of the money comes from corporate sponsors and viewers like you.) Not only do I not think the government should be in the news production business in competition with private enterprises, NPR and its public broadcasting cousins are cases where money is taken from the masses to subsidize the elites.
From time to time, there are moves to kill these subsidies but, because the costs are trivial and the supporters are well connected, they go nowhere. And, as far as government’s acting against my philosophy goes, this is a minor infraction, indeed. So I’ll listen to NPR so long as it’s around in its present format. And, if by some happenstance the “kill the subsidy” forces win, I’ll support private means of supplanting the government portion through subscription, advertising, or whathaveyou.