October 22nd, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government today praised House Republican Leader John Boehner for calling for an end to taxpayer funding of public broadcasting in the wake of National Public Radio (NPR) firing news analyst Juan Williams.
In an interview with National Review Online, Boehner said, “Washington is borrowing 37 cents of every dollar it spends from our kids and grandkids. Given that, I think it’s reasonable to ask why Congress is spending taxpayers’ money to support a left-wing radio network — and in the wake of Juan Williams’ firing, it’s clearer than ever that’s what NPR is.”
“We need to face facts — our government is broke,” Boehner added.
With a $13.6 trillion national debt, and the Obama Administration proposing to raise it by approximately $1.06 trillion every year for the next ten years, ALG’s Wilson is emphatic about getting the nation’s balance sheet in order. He believes public broadcasting is the right place to start.
“If Congress cannot cut public broadcasting when we must balance the budget, it cannot cut anything,” Wilson said, adding, “John Boehner is right. We are broke. The real reason behind QE2 is that the Treasury could be facing approximately a $630 billion shortfall in treasuries auctions every year for the next three years. If we can barely pay the bills as is, why are we borrowing and printing money to pay for luxuries like public broadcasting?”
Wilson called for “an immediate end to funding for public broadcasting that has not already been disbursed” and renewed his call for members of Congress to cosponsor legislation by Representative Doug Lamborn that would defund it permanently. Currently, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting receives about $420 million annually from taxpayers in the federal budget.
Wilson said that the Juan Williams firing “reveals the real, radical agenda behind public broadcasting,” adding, “Williams’ discriminatory firing is a perfect, perhaps prime reason why there shouldn’t even be public broadcasting. The government has demonstrated time and again that it is an intolerant force with no ability nor willingness to respect alternative viewpoints.” Wilson noted that Williams was fired “merely for expressing his opinions.”
In an interview with FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly, Williams said “when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”
Wilson noted that Williams “is entitled to his honest opinion. In the same interview, his broader point was that you had to distinguish between Muslims of faith and terrorists killing in the name of religion. He was explaining in an honest way his own personal struggle to overcome fear in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to make that point. For that, he was fired.”
“Williams was not even on NPR when he said it. How could he violate their so-called ‘editorial guidelines’?” Wilson added. Writing for FOXNews.com, Williams called it “a chilling assault on free speech. The critical importance of honest journalism and a free flowing, respectful national conversation needs to be had in our country. But it is being buried as collateral damage in a war whose battles include political correctness and ideological orthodoxy.”
Williams added, “I say an ideological battle because my comments on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ are being distorted by the self-righteous ideological, left-wing leadership at NPR.”
“NPR has engaged in blatant viewpoint discrimination,” Wilson explained. “They are more like a limited public forum than an agency with strict communications guidelines for who can speak for the agency, because they are a public broadcaster. They are obligated under the First Amendment to allow and tolerate alternative viewpoints. They cannot fire somebody simply over a matter of personal opinion.”
Wilson said that Williams “could sue under the First Amendment for discriminating on the basis of his viewpoint, but that may be besides the point.”
Wilson concluded, “This is censorship of the first order by a public agency. Given their track record, I’m not even going to pretend that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting could ever be reformed to be viewpoint neutral. They are a radical, ideological propaganda unit, and Congress has a responsibility to cut off their funding. They are discriminating against honest journalists, and taxpayers should not be compelled to finance its ideological, one-sided political agenda. Besides, we cannot afford it.”
“Where to cut, you ask?” Video by Frank McCaffrey on Doug Lamborn’s legislation, October 19th, 2010.
“The Bare Minimum,” by Rick Manning, ALG Communications Director, October 20th, 2010.
“Time to Stop Funding Luxuries, Like Public Broadcasting,” by Rebekah Rast, ALG News Contributing Editor, June 14th, 2010.
“Is Public Broadcasting Hurting the Arts?” by Robert Romano, ALG News Senior Editor, June 15th, 2010.
Interview Availability: Please contact Rebekah Rast at (703) 383-0880 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.