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Posted on 03/11/2011 12:18:23 PM PST by Sub-Driver
NPR Board Member Admits It Serves 'Liberal, Highly Educated Elite,' Wonders How to Justify Public Funding in Light of This By Lachlan Markay Created 03/11/2011 - 1:31pm
By Lachlan Markay | March 11, 2011 | 13:31
At least one National Public Radio board member has a firm grasp on arguments against the organization receiving federal funding. Criticisms of NPR "do have some legitimacy," she noted, and "we must, as a starting point, take on board some of this criticism."
Sue Schardt, director of the Association of Independents in Radio and a member of NPR's board, noted during the board's Feburary 25 "public comment" period that "we unwittingly cultivated a core audience that is predominately white, liberal, highly educated, elite."
As a consequence, Schardt added, while the journalism NPR produces may be of high quality, the organization really only serves, by her telling, 11 percent of the United States. In light of that fact, she added, "we need to carefully consider whether we warrant public funding and, if so, what the rationale would be."
The following is partial transcript of Schardt's comment, posted at Current.org:
After working in many parts of public radio both deep inside it and now with one foot inside and one foot outside I believe there's an elephant in the room. There is something that I'm very conscious of as we consider this crisis that I'd like to speak to.
We have built an extraordinary franchise. It didn't happen by accident. It happened because we used a very specific methodology to cultivate and build an audience. For years, in boardrooms, at conferences, with funders, we have talked about our highly educated, influential audience. We pursued David Giovannoni's methodologies. We all participated. It was his research, his undaunted, clear strategy that we pursued to build the successful news journalism franchise we have today.
What happened as a result is that we unwittingly cultivated a core audience that is predominately white, liberal, highly educated, elite. "Super-serve the core" that was the mantra, for many, many years. This focus has, in large part, brought us to our success today. It was never anyone's intention to exclude anyone.
But we have to accept unapologetically that this is the franchise we've built.
We have to look at this because the criticisms that are coming at us whether they're couched in other things do have some legitimacy. We must, as a starting point, take on board some of this criticism. Before we can set a path, we have to own this.
One choice, at this transformational moment, is to say, "We are satisfied with what we are doing. We in radio are providing 11 percent of America with an extraordinary service." If this is our choice, we need to carefully consider whether we warrant public funding and, if so, what the rationale would be.
Another choice is to say, "We have cultivated and built an extraordinary infrastructure of interconnected stations that's now adopting networked digital technologies. More important, we have created a culture of human beings who in this building, at stations, and in my constituency of hundreds of producers are fluent in a particular craft rooted in an idealism of service. Individuals whose intention at every step is to contribute to the greater good. Ours is a human endeavor. That is what differentiates us. This is what is at stake. This is what we must preserve."
I believe we need to say, in this moment, "You're right. We are not satisfied, either. Now that we have achieved this huge success over a 30-year incubation period, we now are poised to commit ourselves to translate and bring what we have to everyone in America. Within the next five years, seven years we set the timetable. We are absolutely committed to serving truly and speaking in the voices truly of 80 percent or 90 percent of the public." We set our numbers.
No NPR detractor has thus far provided a case this compelling - due both to the force of its arguments and the significance of the person offering them - for a reexamination of the organization's federal funding. Hopefully its backers take it to heart.
Is it your own petard?
Nope, times up. Not another dime from taxpayers!!
Bottom Line: I, a staunch conservative, am forced through my tax dollars to support NPR which at it’s highest levels hates me and ridicules me and my beliefs. There is NO justification for forcing me to support them. They are a purely liberal Democratic news mongering machine. They can find their own funding, let the free markets prevail.
Wonderful! In the mean time, quit sucking off the public trough and pay for yourself.
Take a long walk off a short pier, commie! -And do off of the public dole!
Translation: We've been taking money out of the pockets of working men and women in order to subsidize radio that caters to wealthy liberals and denegrates the very taxpayers who are footing the bill.
This is a reasonably objective analysis.
I listen to NPR, or I should say, my local NPR station, mostly because I enjoy the 10 hours of blues programming per week. I listen to some of their other talk and music programming as well, but I do not support their operation financially. I feel that the political bias of the station (e.g Diane Rehm, Terry Gross, etc) is opposite to my own, and there are no counterbalancing conservative programs, and that as long as this continues to be the case they will have to obtain their financial support from the minority portion of the population that shares their liberal views. I explained my reasons to the station manager who actually said he understood my rationale.
Supporting NPR personally is a personal choice. But the argument is identical - the government should not confiscate money from everyone to advance the political agenda of one particular group. It may not be “establishing a religion” but to my mind it’s not much different.
Thinking themselves wise, they became [the ultimate] fools.
These are the people who imagine themselves to be speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.
Comforting the comfortable is more like it.
“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” - Thomas Jefferson
I love the implication that highly educated=liberal. Conservative means uneducated rube. I may be wrong but I think there are some highly educated conservatives out there. I have donated to NPR because I like their classical music. They will get no more money from me.
Imagine if their target audience had instead been “highly educated, conservative, traditional American families”. They would have nurtured five times the audience they have now. Instead, they went after an audience of America-hating, masturbating, liberal “intellectuals” like themselves. NPR screwed up, big time. So sad, too bad... Defund it immediately.
Don’t forget that they think you’re STOOPID, too.
Clearly NPR and PBS must build more diversity into their programming. Since they don’t especially like to employ black folks maybe they could hire Eminem to do a Friday night hip-hop show to appeal to the urban yoot demographic.
Utter, unadulterated horse hockey. NPR knew EXACTLY what audience it was trying to attract.
Notice, however, that book smarts does not equal either street smarts or common sense.
First, she's right about their core audience. No denying it.
Second, she's right about the very high quality of the product they produce. It is extraordinarily well done -- their stuff tends to be thoughtful, well researched, and intellectually deep.
Third, she's right about the influence of what they have built.
I think she glosses over the liberal tilt that inevitably developed as they built their "11 percent" audience; many of NPR's listeners are probably so comfortable with that tilt that they don't even notice it.
But I also think that much of the funding that Congress now provides, would be replaced by their 11% audience -- it would go on, just in a different form.
To be honest, I think that conservatives have seriously missed the boat where that sort of forum and format is concerned. Conservative talk radio is a very poor substitute for the sort of discussion and information that NPR provides on the left.
Conservatives desperately need the sort of adult discussion and debate that talk radio is unable to (or at least, does not) provide.
For example, Limbaugh is a smart guy, but he's usually too shallow to be useful, and often incorrect on details. And he loves the vibrations of his voice on his bionic ear.
It would be physically impossible for him to get to the level of depth that NPR can, because they talk to all sorts of people who are well-versed in a topic, whereas Limbaugh is only one guy who hasn't got the time to be deeply informed on anything. (And don't get me started on Hannity.)
“Serves ‘Liberal, Highly Educated Elite,’”
Since NPR is apparently only for DC, NY, LA, SF, Austin, and Chapel Hill, at least cut the funding that provides NPR programming everywhere else in the US.