Nobody is a bigger fan of NPR than SWNID. Take that, liberals who imagine that conservatives get all their news from Fox! We spend about two orders of magnitude more time with NPR than with Murdoch's broadcasts, or Limbaugh or Beck or anyone or all of them together. Our most punched pre-set is for WVXU. We have presets for NPR affiliates in Oxford, Indianapolis and Chicago, so that we can listen more or less continuously on our most-traveled road trips. We can name reporters for All Things Considered and Morning Edition on the basis of their articulating less that one word. We've heard Susan Stanberg talk about her grandmother's cranberry relish about 120 times.
We're also pretty much into PBS. We rejoice that digital broadcast brings us about a dozen PBS channels to us. Life without American Experience or American Masters or Great Performances or even Nightly Business Report is unthinkable to us.
And we have never given Public Broadcasting a dime, and won't until NPR and PBS and CPB are unfunded by USA. And we might not then, either, because we are cheap and prefer to give to things that we believe in as opposed to those that we merely enjoy. But we dare/beg/insist that the government unfunding begin (N.B. that because the CPB is funded two years in advance, the pain won't be felt until networks and stations have oodles of time to adjust their budgets, just like actual businesses wish they did).
And when public broadcasting is federally unfunded, we hope that they'll make their advertising (a.k.a. "underwriting") explicit. It won't need to be rude like for-profit TV. But we don't think that Exxon sponsors Masterpiece Classic because it likes British costume drama. There's a reason why the radio network's last two initials are "PR."
And when they are unfunded, we hope that competitors arise. Remember when A&E was about Arts and Entertainment? When the History Channel was about history?
What if the Gray Lady used its considerable news-gathering and arts-criticism operations' excess capacity to create a radio network that does what NPR does, which is largely radio coverage of what's appeared earlier in the Times? Might they do that if they weren't competing with a subsidized entity? Might it "save" that misguided but estimable organization, now deep in a fiscal death-spiral?
Liberal bias? Well, we've been listening and watching for longer than most of America has been alive, and we can tell you that if anything, NPR and PBS have become more ideologically balanced than they were, say, in the Reagan Administration, when "Radio Sandinista" was an apt moniker. But really, who cares, unless we're all taxed to pay for it, and who is going to referee the establishment of objectivity? Where are the islands of objectivity in this great sea of bias that we all drown in?
Public broadcasting is elitist. As a self-styled elite, we like that. But we don't think that the lumpenproletariat ought to help pay for it. Its fans are richer than its non-fans. Let us have all of it that we will pay for.