'This Week' Transcript: Disaster in the Pacific

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But what bothers me is that we're focusing on one little slice of that pie. And, by the way, I noticed you didn't bring me in because there's not a lot of pie there.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: We're focusing...

TAPPER: Twelve percent is the domestic discretionary budget.

BRAZILE: Absolutely.

TAPPER: And that's what everybody...

BRAZILE: Non-security. I mean, and imagine if this was the kitchen table we all sat at when we had to make budget decisions. And they say, OK, we've got a budget deficit. Let's throw the kids off of Head Start.

TAPPER: I do want to talk about one small nibble of that domestic discretionary spending slice, which is National Public Radio and the funding for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, because Cokie is a long-time employee of NPR. This was not a great week for NPR.

ROBERTS: No, to put it mildly.

TAPPER: Conservative guerilla filmmaker James O'Keefe did a sting operation and caught the now-former vice president for fundraising saying many disparaging things about the Republican Party and the Tea Party. He's gone. The CEO, Vivian Schiller, is gone. And then, towards the end of the week, this video was released. It shows Betsy Liley, NPR's senior director of institutional giving, talking to the fictitious donor who claimed he was with the Muslim Brotherhood and wanted to give -- or a group affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood that wanted to give a $5 million gift.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): It sounded like you were saying that NPR would be able to shield us from a government audit. Is that correct?

LILEY: I think that is the case, especially if you were anonymous, and I can inquire about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Cokie, you've been at NPR for almost 40 years. Obviously, this institution means a lot to you, but why should we care?

ROBERTS: Well, I should just say that they did then reject that money and sent internal e-mails basically saying this is totally unacceptable. We have to have tax forms, all of that. So, you know, that -- that should be stated.

But, look, we should care, because 34 million people listen every week and want to get the news that you get there, that you can't get anyplace else.

NPR has got 17 foreign bureaus. That's something you can't say for any other broadcast organization these days and -- and brings you terrific information day in and day out, week in and week out. And the reporters who are there on the line being shot at in North Africa at the moment are being very badly served by the management that's now gone.

TAPPER: George, very quickly.

WILL: We learned this week redundantly that NPR is run by people who don't like people like me, which is fine. The problem is, there are 14,000 radio stations in this country. The government shouldn't be subsidizing neither entertainment and certainly not journalism. In fact, this is a solution in search of a problem.

ROBERTS: Well, there are not 14,000 radio stations in rural areas, which is where most of the federal funding goes. Most of those stations are the ones that -- NPR gets hardly any money from the federal government and the big stations get hardly any money. But the little tiny, rural stations that -- where there's nothing else on the air, get a lot of money and they would go dark.

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