March 16, 2011
Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced two amendments today to a GOP bill eliminating NPR subsidies.
His prepared remarks to the Rules Committee are below:
“Mr. Chairman, this bill is a bad idea.
We all know what’s going on here. The reason this bill is before us is that a discredited, right-wing activist recently made a selectively-edited, 11 minute video of a two-hour conversation. The target of his little sting was a fundraising executive at NPR who no longer works there.
That executive made what appeared to be disparaging remarks about the Republican Party. Now, if you look at what he actually said, in full context, it’s clear that he was paraphrasing what other Republicans had said about the direction of the party.
In any case, there is absolutely no reason to cut off funds for NPR because of this issue. There is no reason to jeopardize the news and entertainment that millions and millions of Americans rely on and enjoy.
But if you insist on going down this road, Mr. Chairman, then we should be “fair and balanced” in the way we do it.
Over the past several years, it has become clear that the Fox News channel is wildly biased. They continue to employ a talk show host who called President Obama a racist. They continue to employ several prospective Republican Presidential candidates as “analysts,” giving them hours and hours of free air time. And their parent company has donated millions to GOP-linked groups.
My amendment would prohibit federal funds – taxpayer dollars – from being used for advertising on the partisan, political platform of Fox News.
If my friends on the other side of the aisle want to strip funding from NPR because they believe – wrongly, in my view – that NPR is biased, then we should be given the same opportunity.
Mr. Chairman, some of my Republican colleagues have talked about the need for this bill because of concerns about the deficit. They don’t believe that the federal taxpayer should subsidize public radio.
But the federal government subsidizes media companies all the time. According to a Rand Study, the Department of Defense alone spent over $600 million in advertising in 2007.
I believe we should figure out whether that spending is a good use of taxpayer dollars.
My second amendment would direct the GAO to study how and where this money is being spent.”