Not content to simply take important resources away from poor people and women, House Republicans have now targeted Ira Glass and Car Talk, voting today 228-192 to cut off federal funding to National Public Radio. While most Republicans used the excuse of “They don’t actually need the money,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), took the bias route, saying, “why should we allow taxpayer dollars to be used to advocate one ideology?” The bill would prohibit local affiliates from using any of the $60 million in federal funds (about 2 percent of NPR’s annual budget) “to pay for NPR-produced programs or to pay member dues,” a change from an earlier bill that tried to eliminate all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, purveyors of such dangerous, godless programming as NOVA and Ken Burns documentaries. Some supporters of the bill have pointed to the recent video of former NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller saying things about the Tea Party that we’ve all been thinking anyway as proof of NPR’s bias, never mind the shady circumstances under which the video was shot (or the nefarious background of James O’Keefe, the guy behind the video). Of course, much like the House’s recent votes on Planned Parenthood and the health-care repeal, the bill will very likely be voted down in the Senate, meaning it’s essentially a sop to conservatives and a blood-angrier-upper for liberals, but mostly a high-profile distraction for both.
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