October 22nd, 2010
03:27 PM ET
4 years ago

DeMint takes steps to cut NPR funding

(CNN) – Amid growing conservative outrage over National Public Radio's firing of journalist Juan Williams, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint is introducing a measure to strip the organization of government funding.

"Once again we find the only free speech liberals support is the speech with which they agree," said DeMint in a statement. "The incident with Mr. Williams shows that NPR is not concerned about providing the listening public with an honest debate of today's issues, but rather with promoting a one-sided liberal agenda."

NPR fired Williams after the liberal journalist told Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Monday that he gets "worried" and "nervous" on flights when he sees people wearing "Muslim garb."

NPR says federal funding comprises less than 2 percent of its budget, with most of its financial support coming from station fees, sponsorships and grants.

"Since 2001, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds programming for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service, has received nearly $4 billion in taxpayer money," DeMint also said in the statement. "The country is over $13 trillion in debt and Congress must find ways to start trimming the federal budget to cut spending.

Several conservatives have called for NPR to be stripped of its funding, including former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.


Filed under: Jim DeMint
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Tired of all the nonsense

    NPR has a policy - if you're going to be a journalist, then you can't be a commentator.

    Williams did make a comment in a forum he shouldn't have because it violated NPR's policies. No one is saying he couldn't have an opinion or be worried if someone in full Muslim garb gets on a plane. 9/11 is still very much in our minds, so the idea is still there, but Williams said what he did on television.

    No one is infringing on his first amendment rights - Williams is the one who violated NPR policy. They had a legal right to fire him.

    Then again, maybe he wanted out of his contract, deliberately violated NPR policy so they would fire him so he could get a job with a tabloid news show.

    October 22, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Darth Vadik, CA

    Just a thought about elections....

    It's a damn shame that not everyone votes, if they did, Republicans would be a third class party with 20 congressmen and 10 Senators, all from the low IQ Bible belt states.

    So while Democrats refuse to vote because their candidate is not perfect, or the proposition does not give them everything they want, the corporate overlords and China are convincing dumb Americans (conservatives) that cutting their own throats is good for them. At the same time China is a Communist country.

    How ironic that dumb conservatives shout Obama is a Socialist while at the same time they take orders from the Communist Chinese!!! Nice going conservatives....

    October 22, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. Terry

    I'm sure that Williams will be happy as a Fox employee, where he can join the rest of the knee-jerk haters and fear-mongers. Good riddance. NPR has a conscience and a sense of responsibility to journalistic ethics. NPR rules!

    October 22, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Pa Santigie

    It is my belief that NPR can hire or fire as they choose. If in firing Juan Williams NPR is to lose their funding, then it should be taken away anyway. By taking it away you remove all semblance of Government control. The audacity of DeMint to threaten NPR because administrative action was taken by an organization against someone who expressed negative sentiments towards Muslims is beyond me. Yet he is quick call for the pitchforks when President Jimmy Carter- a Nobel Peace Prize winner says the truth about Israel. Shame on you DeMint.........but of course, you are a Republican I should not expect any better from you.
    Yes, Congress must find a way to cut the budget. Let’s start by giving back your salary for the last two years alone which you spent doing absolutely nothing in Congress.

    October 22, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Melanie

    Screw the 1st Amendment! I want to be told what I can say. I want to be controlled. I want to be like a European nation. I want the government to think for me and not be responsible for thinking for myself. I want the government to create jobs not small American businessess. I want to a new Constitution – not the ones our forefathers designed. I want to be renamed as The People's Republic of America!!!!!!!

    October 22, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. TBR

    This almost reads like a bad 4-koma meme.

    Sanchez: Jews control the media.
    Teabaggers: *crickets*
    Williams: I'm leery around Muslims on planes.
    Teabaggers: YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

    October 22, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. ronalde

    entoduce your bill deminted and i hope that the democrats filibuster it,like you have filibustered everyone elses bills and let me know how it feels,you idiot,npr doesn't cater to fox nonews like you do.

    October 22, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. informed voter

    NPR had every right to fire Williams. Their policy that their commentators NOT offer opinion, but only to report the news, was violated by William's paranoid statement regarding Muslims. Free speech is indeed protected by the Constitution, however, the right to say anything you like does not guarantee you there won't consequences to your actions and words.

    October 22, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. Janis Ensminger

    What double standards here!! You npr people are blind....and btw...I do NOT like having to fund your "programming" I feel sorry for all of the people that you "program" ... they are all lost sheep and don't even know it. Try using facts and stop lying to vilify anyone who doesn't agree with your opinions. This is STILL America, is it not?? I think we have you NPR and other publicly funded programs to thank for our new Socialist Government. I hope you will all enjoy living in the tyranny that you have promulgated!!!

    October 22, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Asinine. This isn't about free speech. It's about freedom to contract. Williams is, presumably, a sophisticated business person who was given a contract by another sophisticated business entity. That contract made his employment contingent upon him holding his tongue and not talking about his personal thoughts, feelings, theories, etc., when being interviewed in a public forum. Why? Because it helps to keep up his appearance of being an objective news analyst and thereby protects the appearance of integrity and objectivity NPR wished to present to the public. The appearance of integrity and objectivity of NPR and its news analysts was made even more important by its acceptance of government funds. In fact, it is the widespread perception of NPR as objective that makes the GOP/Teatards and other conservative twits hate them so much.

    Williams failed multiple times to keep his end of the bargain and thereby breached his contract. This isn't about the substance of what he said about Muslims...it's merely about the fact that he said anything that constituted his personal beliefs, thoughts, etc. He was always free to never have accepted the contract in the first place if he didn't like the conditions and obligations it placed on him. Once he did, he was also always free to speak his mind and accept that it meant he breached the contract and would therefore likely lose his job.

    The reality is that DeMint, Palin, Hannity, O'Reilly, Beck and the rest hate NPR because it threatens their misinformation campaigns and demagoguery. Moreover, they have all jumped all over anyone, like Helen Thomas, Rick Sanchez, or others, who has ever said anything that could be even remotely construed as derogatory towards Israel or Jews. The fear of Muslims though...well, say it loud and proud, because that's their keystone narrative, particularly because fear and suspicion of and anger at Muslims is such a core component of the GOP's mid-term election year racewar strategery.

    Lastly, this isn't government action, so the 1st Amendment isn't even relavent. NPR is a private non-profit that applies for grants. They are not, never have been and are in no way a government agency or proxy.

    October 22, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Rickster

    Excellent move by the best Senator in the nation. The federal government has no business funding any radio or television broadcasting even if those broadcasts were fair and balanced which NPR and PBS are certainly not. This is just one of hundreds, if not thousands, of areas that the federal government needs to get out of and stop spending taxpayer money on. This is why the country is going broke.....the fed government has it's grimy mitts into all sorts of areas that they have no business being in.

    October 22, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. carlos

    the republiCONServatives are making a MOCKERY of the election process, of women, children, seniors, veterans, teachers and first responders......and this demented idiot and his teatards are a shame to every decent human being.....no class, culture, dignity and morals.

    October 22, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. Republicans is smart in the head area

    Demint is a tool and Williams is a fool. If his statement had been: "I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. But when I get on a Bus, I got to tell you, if I see black people who are in hip hop garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Blacks, I get worried. I get nervous." would that have been OK?

    How in any way, shape or form would that comment be acceptable? So why would it be acceptable if the comment is made about Muslims?

    October 22, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Me

    I know Republicans want to destroy NPR the way they destroyed ACORN, the way they are trying to destroy Obama.
    NPR is THE ONLY MAJOR NEWS SOURCE THAT IS NOT WHOLLY OWNED BY COPERATE AMERICA!
    NPR for the most part is unbiased and of course that mkes them part of the liberal media elite to all Republicans and conservatives!
    The conservative right has their own channel, it's called FOX "news", Now they want to eliminate one of the last few real news networks.
    (Don't worry CNN, I think you are safe...as long as all you do is polls and palin, no one is going to consider you as a real news outlet anymore)

    October 22, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. B.o.B.

    Let's not stop with NPR. How about taxpayer funding of labor unions. If taxpayers have to pay for government employee salaries, why are forced union dues being used for political campaigns and attack ads.

    Remember in November

    October 22, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    BTW, anyone ranting about this as "left wing media conspiracy" can kiss my shiny white toosh. Before this story broke, NPR got itself in trouble with some on the left because they had issued a memo to all employees warning them, under this same policy that got Williams fired, that nobody was allowed to attend the John Stewart "Restoring Sanity" rally unless it was as part of the reporting team assigned to it and working as part ofthe team reporting on it. They never issued any such memo about the Glenn Beck nonsense. Sounds like super leftist commy bias there, eh? Idiots.

    October 22, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. carlos

    and who is juan williams?????????.....he can be easily replaced at NPR with a more intelligent person, he fits exactly at the imbecility of the republican news station and its unamerican and unprofessional staff

    October 22, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. ddt

    This idoit is a racist after all. Who cares what it says. Most white people in SC are racists that is a fact. Sarah Palin, is an Imbecile I don't even need to talk much about her

    October 22, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. kyle from ohio

    DeMint: No gays, unwed moms in the classroom:

    What an Small Government, Government Worker, who says no guy or unwed moms teachers; watch out An Elected official from S.C. against something, and talking with moral authority; that must mean in his closet he is gay with a girlfriend reporter from Brazil, and he belongs to C-Street. The trend of the times!!!!!! Or it this just another ACORN moment let's get rid of these that may actually want to REport new unbiase.

    October 22, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. carlos

    and we can alsoforce congress to cut his salary because he does not deserve a dime for doing absolutely NOTHING, poor demented person

    October 22, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. seebofubar

    Why on God's green earth are we funding a radio sation anyway? Especially NPR, nobody pays attention to the BS that comes from that station. Might as well as listen to a few stoners talking politics. It's a waste of our good money and bandwidth.

    October 22, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Justin C

    NPR receives less than 2% of its funding from the government. Some member stations get more, but they aren't the ones who fired Williams. The fact that NPR gets so much of its funding from the public, as opposed to, say, advertising dollars from Goldline, shows that a big part of the country really does want civility in its public debate instead of listening to screaming blowhards.

    October 22, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Mike

    Right on DeMint! NPR needs to go!!!

    October 22, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    Why am I thinking that DeMint and Williams might have been in collusion (along with FOX and clan of coarse)? Distractions such as these coming from DeMint this late into the election? Don't say the GOPers are actually getting worried Nov. elections might not go as planned? Hmmm...

    October 22, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. T'SAH from Virginia

    If NPR is such a LIBERAL organization – why was Juan working for them??? He is NOT a Liberal!!!!

    I have NO other real comment on this issue because I feel the Brother because he is a Brother. But, I personally did not like him..... Just my opinion and I have a right to my LIKINGs or DISLIKINGs!!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message!!!

    October 22, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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