While on NPR, Sen. Rubio Questions Usefulness of NPR

Jul 19, 2012 11:48am

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., expressed worry this morning about broadcasting outlets that use taxpayer money to stay on the air.

Rubio made his comments on a broadcasting outlet that uses taxpayer money to stay on the air.

“I do have concerns about spending money on public broadcasting,” Rubio told Diane Rehm during an hourlong Q&A on NPR.

NPR has been a source of criticism from congressional Republicans who view it as a liberal refuge that espouses its views courtesy of public funding.  Although only 2 percent of  the NPR network’s funding comes from government grants, the network says that the loss of federal funding would undermine NPR stations’ ability to pay for programming. Some stations, which pay the network to broadcast NPR programming, receive up to 10 percent of their funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, CPB.

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Rubio argued that private donations should support such an enterprise as NPR, and that plenty of outlets are available to house that ideology and format. He admitted, though, that he enjoys Rehm’s show and that NPR’s funding is low on the list of costs that should be cut.

A caller pointed out the irony of Rubio’s  position, saying,  “He’s spending an entire hour on the show today.”

Rubio countered that a half-century ago, a station like NPR might have been necessary, but “today there is no shortage of options” for news and opinion.

“I have 300 stations on my satellite radio,” Rubio boasted.

So Rehm asked him if he’s contradicting himself by coming on her show if he doesn’t believe her show should be funded by the public.

“Anytime we have an opportunity to go anywhere, we try to take that opportunity to communicate with people who are listening,” Rubio said.

This post has been updated to more accurately reflect the funding scheme of NPR and its affiliate stations.

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