NPR host: Some federal funding will survive
March 9th, 2011
07:30 PM ET
12 years ago

NPR host: Some federal funding will survive

(CNN) - Longtime public radio host Diane Rehm told CNN's John King on Wednesday that congressional Republicans pushing to cut all federal funding for National Public Radio are really "looking at a way to silence public broadcasting."

In an exclusive interview on "John King, USA," Rehm told King that a recently released undercover video of an NPR executive had "given those who don't believe in public funding for public broadcasting, more and more ammunition."

In the hidden-camera footage, NPR's senior vice president for fundraising Ron Schiller was recorded saying that his company would "better off without federal funding."

"Initially this young man Schiller did not even investigate who these people were," Rehm said, referring to the conservative activists who caught Schiller on a hidden camera. "[He] went out and said such things. If I had known you for 10 minutes John, would I have said those things to you? These were the views of one individual making foolish comments that are now reflecting on the entire organization."

Schiller had announced before the undercover video surfaced that he would be leaving NPR for another position this spring, but said on Tuesday that his resignation was effective immediately in light of the damaging video.

But despite all the attention Schiller's comments have received, Rehm expressed confidence that some funding for public radio would survive.

"I won't say how much," Rehm said. "I don't think public broadcasting is going to be zeroed out because I don't believe people across this country want to see public funding zeroed out. I think they may feel that like every other institution it needs to be reduced because of the deficit but not zeroed out."

Rehm, who has hosted The Diane Rehm Show from WAMU in Washington for more than 25 years, also laid out the difficulties her station would face if it lost federal funding, saying that it would "have to find 8,000 more listeners who will not only contribute once, but continue to contribute year after year."

"Now that's Washington, that's Baltimore," Rehm said. "What happens across the country to smaller stations? Washington is not all of public radio. You got to think about what's going to happen to the rest of the system."

Filed under: Diane Rehm • NPR
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. julie

    Good. Any company going belly up does not get money to keep going from the Govt. Let the Hollywood elite fund NPR and the arts. Hey Michael Moore, you fat pig, why don't you give all your money to National Putrid Radio? After all, they are all Liberals and since the money belongs to the government and not you, you should leave your million dollar home and live in the stock yard where you belong.

    March 9, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  2. Inmyopinion

    That's not true to silence the public, public broadcasting has proven to be one sided, Democrat side, as they have used their power of public broadcasting to bad mouth, mock Republicans, FOX News. They are in this situation because of their own actions or have we forgotten the incident with Sesame Street? I guess now they don't find their mocking very funny if they lose federal funding?
    Our tax dollars should fund programs that practice equality and NPR has not been practicing equality to its audience.

    March 9, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  3. Henry Miller

    The advent of the internet and 24/7 cable news has obviated any need for government-financed broadcasting.

    March 9, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  4. Kara

    None of this really matters. With bargaining rights being removed, a woman's right to choose being stripped, and almost every popular celebrity in america being hounded into an early grave by the media., it's only a matter of time before the country becomes a backwater hell, officially irrelevant on the world stage.

    March 9, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. hannah

    The right wing has been after NPR and PBS for many years now. They only want their kind of news; FOX news to spread their propaganda. The mainstream news organizations are pathetic. We don't get much of what is happening in the world. They bury the hard news with stories on Charlie Sheen and people don't seem to care.

    March 9, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The idea that funding NPR & PBS should stop is foolishness because these stations offer a perspective that isn't influenced by commercial concerns. Some may see it as liberal, but I don't think so since they have both sides of many issues. Do I agree with all of their coverage - No not all of it, but that is the way of life.

    March 9, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    When is James O'Keefe going to investigate Fox's ongoing use of unrelated video behind stories in their efforts to push their agenda? Check out Bill O'Reilly's "Wisconsin protestors" video from March 1; you know, the one that had Wisconsin palm trees in the background ...

    March 10, 2011 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  8. BJ

    What was said was the truth, but of course there are segments who do not support honesty, they LIE! They lie and cheat and are underhanded and they are thieves. Why would these people want NPR around? They will be better without the Federal Aid, great station – at least they don't like like FOX.

    March 10, 2011 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  9. Marie MD

    The truth hurts. I would like to know why haters and liars like silly girl beck and tur of lard limberger (and all of faux news) stay on the air while spewing worse lies.
    Talk about double standard!

    March 10, 2011 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  10. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Over 95% of NPR programming is non-controversial, neutral, and apolitical. And yet because some people think that if they hear even one word on any program they don't agree with, their taxpayer rights are being violated. They think they should be refunded the few dollars they might have paid throughout their lifetime that was their share of supporting NPR over that entire lifetime.
    In turn, a large segment of the public did not agree with the Iraq war, a war that cost us hundreds of billions of dollars (a few THOUSAND dollars per taxpayer), and continues to drain taxpayers of dozens of billions each year.
    If taxpayers' rights do mean that we can refuse to pay for things in government we don't agree with, does that mean I can get my money back from the Iraq war?

    March 10, 2011 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  11. Peter E

    The government hands out subsidies to farmers, most of whom are republicans. That means the whole subsidy program is politically biased. I want taxpayer funding to be withdrawn from farmers.
    Fair is fair, right?

    March 10, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  12. capt snarky

    Why is the US government funding ANY broadcasting services? If PBS wants to have the public fund them, they had better up their pledge week to two.

    March 10, 2011 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  13. Chad from Tampa

    Why is taxpayers' money still being given to ANY media organization????? C'mon, don't we have more important things to waste taxpayers money on like Obamacare?

    March 10, 2011 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  14. Big Al

    Rehm is a great lady. I enjoy her show.

    March 10, 2011 08:17 am at 8:17 am |