Lamborn responds to NPR attacks

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Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn denied allegations leveled by National Public Radio (NPR) Tuesday that his efforts to eliminate funding for public broadcasting are an attempt to wield control over the public stations affected.

“Within NPR, some bizarrely claim that my efforts are aimed at controlling and influencing the editorial content of NPR,” Lamborn said in an e-mailed statement to The Daily Caller. “Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe removing federal funding from NPR would give the news organization greater, not less, editorial freedom than they currently enjoy.”

With a majority in the House of Representatives and America facing a national debt over $14 trillion, Republicans have reinvigorated efforts to eliminate funding for “non-essential programs.” In that spirit, last week Lamborn re-introduced legislation to end taxpayer funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the parent company of National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

The Hill reported Tuesday that NPR was not taking Lamborn’s attacks laying down.

“Congressman Lamborn’s legislation is an intrusion into the programming decision-making of America’s public radio stations,” said NPR in an e-mail to the Hill newspaper. “His legislation will disrupt and weaken the free and universal public media system that serves 170 million Americans each month.”

But to the Colorado congressman the real problem is the money. According to Lamborn, this year alone CPB will receive more than $430 million in taxpayer subsidies, a cost which has continued to increase for the last ten years by more than 26 percent.

In a Dear Colleague letter, Lamborn elaborated on his contention that government funding for public broadcasting is foolish:

“The intent of federally funded public broadcasting in the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 was to make ‘telecommunications services available to all citizens of the United States (47 U.S.C. 396).’ Today, over 99% of Americans own a TV and over 95% have access to the Internet. Government funded broadcasting is now completely unnecessary in a world of 500-channel cable TV and cell phone Internet access,” the letter reads.