Tuesday, March 08, 2011


In that James O'Keefe tape, Ron Schiller, the outgoing NPR fundraising executive, says NPR could survive a federal funding cutoff:

Later in the lunch, Schiller explains that NPR would be better positioned free of federal funding. "Well frankly, it is clear that we would be better off in the long-run without federal funding," he says. "The challenge right now is that if we lost it all together we would have a lot of stations go dark."

When one of O'Keefe’s associates asked, "How confident are you, with all the donors that are available, if they should pull the funding right now that you would survive?," Schiller answered this way: "Yes, NPR would definitely survive and most of the stations would survive."

I wonder if that might be true. The NPR station in New York City was actually owned by the city for a long time; it was divested during the Giuliani years. It's still going strong. The fund drives seem longer than before, but New York listeners have generally stopped worrying that we're going to lose the station (well, maybe until recently). We get asked for money, we pony up.

I wonder if that's how things would work all over the country in the absence of federal funding: in reasonably prosperous urban areas and college towns the stations would survive, and elsewhere, well, sorry.

At this point I feel selfish. You right-wingers want to fight this hard just to have a pittance of a budget cut? Fine -- then lose practically the only serious news programming in America. Lose the cultural programming. Lose all of it.

I know most of you in the red areas don't give a crap -- and maybe that's a lesson some people in those areas are going to have to learn. Red America is rapidly becoming a separate nation -- disappearing union rights, disappearing environmental protection, abortion rights that are all but gone, utterly lax gun laws, the ever-present threat of Christian-right prayer and creationism in the schools, grandstanding legislators attempting to ban sharia law or the use of federal currency, resistance to the health-care law, no high-speed rail ever, etc., etc. Without a shot being fired, aren't we becoming two nations? Maybe some of you are going to have to pull up roots and migrate here to Socialiststan, where there's something on the radio other than Limbaugh and that guy who thinks the world will end in May, and where there are a few places where it's still forbidden to wave a gun around.

We may have to arrive at some sort of partition in the next couple of decades, assuming we don't have another shooting war. So maybe, if you're in Limbaughville and you don't like the range of choices you're likely to have, you'll want to mosey on over here, and avoid the rush.

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