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July 14, 2015

Congress ignores PBS, NPR slant -- CAMERA Washington Times Letter

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(This letter appeared in The Washington Times online July 1, 2015, in print July 2.)

Dear Editor:

The Washington Times editorial “Snark and bias alert: David Cameron moves to unslant the news at the BBC. Can NPR take a hint?” (June 29 print edition) observes “government-supported radio and television has grown fat and comfortable, paying enormous salaries to executives and administrators. The warp in the presentation of the news has grown steadily more evident. If they continue to take government money, PBS and NPR should submit to monitoring by an independent and effective monitoring panel, as [British Prime Minister] David Cameron has prescribed for the BBC.”

We’ve documented NPR’s, and PBS’ recurrent “warp in the presentation” of Arab-Israeli news for many years. Yet an independent monitoring panel already exists. It’s called Congress.

The Telecommunications Act calls for, among other things, “strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature” in taxpayer-supported public broadcasting. But Congress has yet to be an effective monitor.

In more than four decades, no NPR radio segment or PBS television show has been found to violate the objectivity and balance statute. Not because there’s never been any bias, but because the relevant congressional committees have yet to hold the networks accountable according to traditional journalism standards including accuracy, context and comprehensiveness. It’s time to start.

Sincerely,
Eric Rozenman
Washington Director
CAMERA—Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Posted by ER at July 14, 2015 01:22 PM

Comments

I am sorry to inform you, that NPR, no longer recieves government money. 2% of their funding comes from Educational Grants by Department of Education, but the Government cut radio stations off, long ago.

Eric Rozenman replies:

Thank you for your comment. However, the "two percent" figure often cited by NPR executives is misleading. The network does receive a little less than two percent in annual federal funds for operating purposes by way of congressional funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CPB, which receives approximately $450 million annually, grants tens of millions of dollars to NPR affiliate stations. The stations then pay the network programming and other fees. This "pass-through" amounts to 15 - 20 percent of NPR's annual budget.

Additional federal funds have been available for costly capital improvements, such as analog-to-digital conversion. If government cut radio stations off long ago, someone should inform NPR lobbyists on Capitol Hill at appropriations time.

Posted by: Baer at July 16, 2015 11:10 AM

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