One has to shake one’s head trying to come up with a response to Bob Youngerman’s diatribe on pulling funding from public broadcasting — namely, National Public Radio [“Please Tell Me Why I Should Support NPR,” April 6 Xpress].
It’s obvious that Mr. Youngerman, the “unaffiliated voter with a conservative bent,” is ignorant of the percentage breakdown of federal funding for NPR. Maybe I can shed some light on his dim, Limbaugh-Fox News thinking.
The Federal Budget for 2010 was approximately $3.5 trillion. Out of that, $80 million went to fund the local member stations of NPR. That breakdown is 0.002 percent of the total federal budget. That’s $80 million the U.S. government contributed to bring news, arts and entertainment to not only urban areas but to rural areas in this country — the kinds of communities that disproportionately rely on federal funding for their public radio stations.
Contrast this $80 million to the $1.3 billion that the government spends on printing oftentimes wasteful, useless stuff. Then there is the $328 million spent on the U.S. Capitol Police to protect our esteemed members of Congress. Then there’s the $747 million that goes to fund public radio for foreign countries — almost 10 times the amount earmarked for Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and other U.S. international radio networks in the Middle East. And, let’s not overlook the $5.7 billion to fund foreign military financing which gives foreign governments the money to buy American-made weapons.
On all public media, including public TV, the U.S. spent approximately $1.43 per person in 2010. That’s less than any other industrialized country in the world. Canada spends $27 per person; the U.K. spends $86. So what do we get for that astounding $1.43 per person spent? Answer: The only non-corporate-controlled, independent media in the country.
While Bob Youngerman complains about “the so-called ‘comedy’ shows” on NPR that give “a free pass to liberals and Democrats,” I can only assume he is a regular listener of such shows. Which brings me to this point: If you’re a listener, send a check — or turn the radio off, Bob!
— Kevin D. McKee