Republicans tee off on NPR after latest O’Keefe video

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, ripped National Public Radio (NPR) on Tuesday after NPR foundation’s nonprofit president Ron Schiller was caught on video saying the radio network and most of its member stations would survive without federal funding.

“As we continue to identify ways to cut spending and save valuable resources, this disturbing video makes clear that taxpayer dollars should no longer be appropriated to NPR,” Cantor said in an e-mail to TheDC. “Not only have top public broadcasting executives finally admitted that they do not need taxpayer dollars to survive, it is also clear that without federal funds, public broadcasting stations self-admittedly would become eligible for more private dollars on top of the multi-million dollar donations these organizations already receive.”

The NPR and public broadcasting defunding debate has heated up as of late, and the new video conservative activist James O’Keefe released emboldens their cause. Playing off Schiller’s comment that NPR would survive without federal funding, Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, said “We agree that NPR and PBS would be fine without taxpayer subsidies.”

DeMint and Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, recently introduced a bill in the Senate to defund NPR and PBS.

“Forcing taxpayers to give public broadcasting hundreds of millions of dollars makes little sense when we’re facing a $14 trillion debt and there are already thousands of educational and entertainment choices in the media,” DeMint said in an email to TheDC.

Congressman Doug Lamborn, Colorado Republican, told TheDC “it’s amazing, the attitude that these guys have,” and their “arrogance and condescension” is “just amazing.”

Lamborn went on to say that he thinks this might be the end of the debate on federal funding for public broadcasting.

“Well, I sure hope so [that the debate ends now],” Lamborn said in a phone interview. “If they, themselves, admit that they’d be better off without federal funding, there’s no further defenses for them to throw out. Remove them from the federal budget and be done with it.”

Cantor maintains that this video is evidence that the federal government should defund NPR and all public broadcasting.

“At a time when our government borrows 40 cents of every dollar that it spends, we must find ways to cut spending and live within our means,” Cantor said. “This video clearly highlights the fact that public broadcasting doesn’t need taxpayer funding to thrive, and I hope that admission will lead to a bipartisan consensus to end these unnecessary federal subsidies.”