Senator Jim DeMint, Calls to De-Fund PBS/NPR; Crazy or Just a Liar?

Jim DeMint, Crazy of Just Plain Full of Shizz?

Recent addition to the Fair & Balanced FOX club, Wall Street Journal, has published an editorial by one of the most fair, most balanced senators in the history of America. Sure, Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) has publicly said that he doesn’t think openly gay teachers should be allowed to teach in public schools, but there’s no mention of that on the Wall Street Journal, so let’s pretend it doesn’t apply.

In a nutshell
Senator DeMint’s argument is that the federal government should de-fund PBS, NPR and all associated entities. I get that we need to tighten our belts, but what are his reasons? I ask because they will go straight to his motivations, almost as if by magic.

Prepare yourself for some serious double-speak, dissembly and at least a few outright lies.

“While executives at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) are raking in massive salaries…”

Okay, already a lot to chew on. Excessive salaries? No. Salaries for NPR, PBS and affiliated public broadcasting entities are far, far lower than those from for-profit companies. You can’t argue with a straight face that the head of NPR earns even half as much as his colleague at FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS or pretty much any other news outfit, and that includes Current TV.

“The so-called commercial free public airwaves have been filled with pleas for taxpayer cash.”

Right, because they can’t sell ads and the federal government won’t fully fund them… how does the senator expect them to fund their operations?

Lobbyists for America
“The Association of Public Television Stations has hired lobbyists to fight the cuts. Hundreds of taxpayer-supported TV, radio and Web outlets have partnered with an advocacy campaign to facilitate emails and phone calls to Capitol Hill for the purpose of telling members of Congress, “Public broadcasting funding is too important to eliminate!””

Three things on this. First, lobbying is not an invention of public radio or television. Second, isn’t a phone call from a constituent the exact way you know what the real pulse of the public is? And third, are you genuinely arguing that public broadcasting is so unimportant that it can or should be eliminated?

CEO Pay and Disparity
“But if PBS can pay Ms. Kerger $632,233 in annual compensation—as reported on the 990 tax forms all nonprofits are required to file—surely it can operate without tax dollars.”

Wall Street still pays its junior analysts bonuses on the order of a million dollars, on top of their salaries… We don’t want to open that can of worms, so let’s just say agree that, while CEO pay may be disproportionately high, there is NO NETWORK executive that earns less than three-times what she does, and she coordinates more original programming, more stations and more journalists than any of her rivals.

That means she’s getting a third of the pay for twice the work, and it’s all for public broadcasting.

I could go down the line by the individuals listed by Mr. DeMint, but that would only ask too many questions he can’t (and honestly won’t even bother to) answer.

Media is wide open to all
“Today’s media landscape is a thriving one with few barriers to entry…”

As a would-be break-in media outlet working for 9-years, you’ll have to pardon me if I call bullshit on this. I have worked as a writer and editor on more than a dozen media upstarts, some of them remarkably well funded, and none of them has been able to scratch the surface, senator.

“…Americans have thousands of news, entertainment and educational programs to choose from that are available on countless television, radio and Web outlets.”
Yes. Some are liberal, many are FOX (check the news aggregators if you don’t believe me, and the remaining majority are unfunded bloggers regurgitating whatever they’ve already read, with limited original research. When the next big Democrat scandal breaks, don’t you want funded writers on the ground?

Get honest about the Budget
“Last year it got $420 million. As Congress considers ways to close the $1.6 trillion deficit, cutting funding for the CPB has even been proposed by President Obama’s bipartisan deficit reduction commission. Instead, Mr. Obama wants to increase CPB’s funding to $451 million in his latest budget.”

I’m not sure to call sour grapes or just disingenuous on this point. The TOTAL expenditure for public broadcasting, TV and Radio combined, would be .00001% for the 2012 budget year… this is how we’re going to fix the budget?

“”Sesame Street,” for example, made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales from 2003-2006.”

Why did you choose those years instead of, say, 2009 or 2010? Because it’s convenient. Because it includes highly unrepresentative years.

More importantly, what’s missing is the fact that nobody gets rich off of Elmo. All that money goes back to pro-literacy campaigns, building a rich, vibrant, free website for school teachers to share with children eager to learn while still having fun.

“Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 in compensation in 2008. With earnings like that, Big Bird doesn’t need the taxpayers to help him compete against the Nickelodeon cable channel’s Dora the Explorer.”

Are you insane? If this same CEO goes over to Nickelodeon, which he very well may at some point, he’ll earn 3-5 times as much for clearing a much lower bar. Conservatives have to admit that we can’t stifle CEO pay (that’s the mantra, right?), and likewise need to admit that this isn’t exorbitant by the standards set by the republican right, not by a mile.

DeMint Hates Citizen Funding
“Last year, for example, the Open Society Foundation, backed by liberal financier George Soros, gave NPR $1.8 million to help support the latter’s plan to hire an additional 100 reporters.”

So wait, the problem is that they should raise their own money, but the problem is that they are also raising their own money? Which is it, guy, because you can’t have it both ways.

Soros DID NOT donate the money to hire additional reporters, that’s an outright lie. The money was simply donated, and it went to general operations. PBS/NPR/CPB cut the number of reporters they employed last year, even with this generous contribution.

“When NPR receives million-dollar gifts from Mr. Soros, it is an insult to taxpayers when other organizations, such as MoveOn.org demand that Congress “save NPR and PBS” by guaranteeing “permanent funding and independence from partisan meddling,” as the liberal interest group did last month.”

How is donating money to a government sponsored public broadcasting entity anything short of patriotic? Trying to connect MoveOn.org to this isn’t just insulting, to use your word, but it’s plain crazy. If I donate millions to the FBI because I believe in security, and then another organization unrelated to me goes to congress and asks for guaranteed funding in the future for the FBI, isn’t that a good thing?

What planet have you been smoking the ganja on, Mr. Senator?

But Let’s Get Honest
If Senator Jim DeMint really wants an honest discussion from an honest media, let’s put in place the law Canada has that requires news broadcasters to be honest. That has kept the likes of FOX News and conservative radio out of Canada, because they know they’d be sued into oblivion and lose their broadcasting rights overnight for the outright lies so regularly espoused.

Challenge to Mr. DeMint
Senator DeMint, I invite you on GlossyNews for an interview to defend your comments, and I’ll send an email to your office today to request that you do as much.

You won’t come on to defend your positions, and you would never support a bill to demand honesty out of journalistic broadcasters. And why? It’s because Jim DeMint doesn’t want an honest, open discussion. That would be too damaging to his interests.

Author: Brian K. White

Brian first began peddling his humorous wares with a series of Xerox printed books in fifth grade. Since then he's published over two thousand satire and humor articles, as well as eight stage plays, a 13-episode cable sitcom and three (terrible) screenplays. He is a freelance writer by trade and an expert in the field of viral entertainment marketing. He is the author of many of the biggest hoaxes of recent years, a shameful accomplishment in which he takes exceptional pride.

14 thoughts on “Senator Jim DeMint, Calls to De-Fund PBS/NPR; Crazy or Just a Liar?

  1. E- You severe conservatives are on a witch hunt for anything that doesn’t fit in your narrow minded agenda.
    You guys go after the soft targets- NPR, ACORN, etc. You go after passive entities that are not used to the Inquisition type warfare that you deal out.
    It would be better if PBS and NPR were totally self standing.
    But you would simply find some other thing to attack them on. They do not fit into the controllable type of people that you depend on for your brainwash drivel.

    Brian- I think you should send this article in to other media outlets as well. It makes a good point.

  2. “The argument for publicly funding PBS & NPR falls flat on every level.”

    E: It sounds like you need a day job. It’ll take your mind away from NPR.

  3. “It’s because Jim DeMint doesn’t want an honest, open discussion. That would be too damaging to his interests.”

    You are running on full funny here, Brian! Splitting sides like there’s no tomorrow! Stop! I can’t laugh any more!

    Now I know what priceless means!

    bobz

  4. “But if PBS can pay Ms. Kerger $632,233 in annual compensation, surely it can operate without tax dollars.”

    Let’s just check what Roger Ailes as CEO of Faux Neuz gets:

    “Ailes signed a new deal in November 2008 that keeps him at the network for another five years. Salary terms were not revealed although his current salary is a reported $5 million per year with bonuses and other compensation extra. His total compensation in 2009 was $23 million. In addition to heading Fox News, Ailes also chairs Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television as well as MyNetwork TV and Fox Business Network.”

    $632,233. x 35=$22,128,155.
    hmmm…ever so slightly under 35 times the salary of the NPR CEO.

  5. I agree with Adam. Though federal funding only makes up a small percentage of the total operating budget, the fact that it’s there mandates non-bias. With that mandate gone, would some not feel a free license to give their own spin?

  6. Still, you’ve got to admit that the Cookie Monster is a little subversive. Rush Limbaugh is only trying to balance the scales a bit…at about 250 pounds; only Big Bird can replace Obermann to keep things ‘fair and balanced’ in that kind of universe. Or is that “fairly unbalanced”? I forget.

  7. I’m getting great Opera and more consistently quality classical music on Sirius radio. Why do I not get that from NPR or PBS? I can get Opera all day long. I get it only on Saturday afternoons on NPR. Why? Because I need the “truth” from All Things Considered and Fresh Aire and Diane Rehm and Jim Lehrer? I can listen to great bluegrass and jazz on Sirius, but I have to listen to really trashy blues on Saturday evenings on NPR? Is Prairie Home Companion supposed to fill my cup after emptying my pockets? The best program on NPR is CarTalk, and I can only get that once a week. Is that the best bang for my tax buck? I’ll pay for Sirius, and hopefully, some of these programs will find their way there, too, for all of us to enjoy when it is convenient for us who work many, many hours, and not just when NPR decides to air them. Truth? I’ll get that from my Bible, thanks all the same. C-Span takes me to great books and authors and where do I get that on NPR or PBS? How about a Masterpiece Theater channel? PBS is falling short on many fronts. They’re just too limited and too expensive for what we can get on a subscription basis. And the same goes for all the other programs on PBS. They can earn their way into the Cable programming. There are plenty of decaying programs that need to be taken out to the garbage and off of cable anyway. Plenty of room for growth for these people and their entrepreneurial expertise. The argument for publicly funding PBS & NPR falls flat on every level.

  8. I listen to NPR regularly. The programming and slant is decidedly to the left of center. There isn’t a conservative program out there. They’re answering to the Democrats and liberals who push for their funding. It is no different than the leftist run mainstream media. Journalism schools should be responsible for turning out truthful journalists. Again we’re dependent on the government for “truth”? Who are you kidding? People have to educate themselves and become critical thinkers, and PBS isn’t going to bridge that gap simply because they receive tax dollars. They should and CAN stand on their own. It is no different than the corporate welfare all liberals want trashed. Do it on both ends of the spectrum. No corporate welfare, period, including PBS and NPR. This program was brought to you by no one, from money given by no one, and is solely intended for no audience whatsoever. Is that what you’re asking us to believe?

  9. I didn’t get taxed one red cent for Rush or Palin. PBS and NPR can stand on their own, like the rest of us. If their products are worthy, they’ll get their funding. They’re pros at fund raising. They don’t need our tax dollars, we do. It’s that simple. Rush and Palin and Alaska and Brian White have nothing to do with the theft of our tax dollars, from PBS to NPR to public unions to overpaid politicians to the Stimulus and the bailout of banks. Welfare should be for the needy and those unable to fend for themselves, the young and the elderly, the sick and the indigent. NPR and PBS fits none of those criteria, or even close. Save us the self-righteous bovine excrement. Mr. White is an overpaid garbage reseller.

    1. There are plenty of reasons we need publicly-funded television and radio. Take a look at what the cable news shows are dishing out and who is paying for the opinions given on those shows. Having broadcasters and content that don’t have to answer to anyone to air the truth is something American cannot afford to lose. Without it, NPR and PBS would be just another talking head show wedged in between Spike TV and Sponge-Bob Squarepants.

  10. Meanwhile Rush Limbaugh makes $50 million a year for manipulating news facts to a specific slant.
    If we are going to disembowel NPR and PBS then we should also take back the money that Alaska gave Sarah Palin for making her reality series there. It’s only fair, now!

  11. Well me and Harv for one liked this article tremendously. My only peeve is that it didn’t have a political perspective. Me and Harv like Liberals just fine. There’s that nice boy down at the flowershop for instance who calls everybody ‘Dude’ and won’t let you
    see what he’s growing back there. I think it’s orchids.

    He probably voted for that Obama character, but Jesus still can forgive him… probably.

    Yours truly,
    Wanda Carlson

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