Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, said National Public Radio CEO Vivian Schiller getting “ousted” doesn’t absolve NPR from federal funding cuts.
“The issue about taxpayers funding public broadcasting isn’t about who gets hired or fired, it’s about two simple facts: we can’t afford it and they don’t need it,” DeMint said in a statement. “We’re facing a $1.5 trillion deficit and spending hundreds of millions on public broadcasting makes no sense today when they are raising millions from private donors and Americans already have thousands of media choices.”
Schiller’s immediate resignation comes in the wake of a sting video that conservative James O’Keefe released Tuesday morning. The radio network already dismissed NPR Foundation nonprofit president Ron Schiller for disparaging remarks he made about the Tea Party movement and for saying NPR would survive and be “better off” in the long run without federal funding.
DeMint and Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, are cosponsoring Senate legislation that would defunding NPR, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
UPDATE 12:11 p.m.: House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, issued a statement on NPR defunding after Schiller was fired by NPR’s board.
“Our concern is not about any one person at NPR, rather it’s about millions of taxpayers,” Cantor said. “NPR has admitted that they don’t need taxpayer subsidies to thrive, and at a time when the government is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that it spends, we certainly agree with them.”
UPDATE: 12:45 p.m.: Rep. Doug Lamborn, Colorado Republican, said this is another reason it’s time to “push Big Bird out of the nest,” playing off PBS’s Sesame Street main character.
“This latest development in what appears to be an internal meltdown at National Public Radio only strengthens my resolve to eliminate all federal funding for NPR and its parent organization, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,” Lamborn said in a statement. “I have been seeking to push Big Bird out of the nest for over a year, based on the simple fact that we can no longer afford to spend taxpayer dollars on non-essential government programs. It’s time for Big Bird to earn his wings and learn to fly on his own.”
Check back for more updates.