Government Funding for NPR? George Will v. Cokie Roberts

As House of Representatives Debates NPR Funding, ABC's commentators weigh in.

ByABC News
March 16, 2011, 5:40 PM

March 17, 2011 -- In the wake of an undercover sting by conservative activists that cost two NPR executives their jobs and renewed the debate about public broadcasting in the United States, the House of Representatives will vote today on whether to end funding for NPR. They voted earlier this year to end funding for all public broadcasting. Both measures have run into resistance in the Senate.

Read more about the conservative sting HERE, questions about how it was conducted HERE, and publicly funded broadcasting HERE.

Here are arguments against publicly funded media from conservative columnist and ABC News commentator George Will and for it by ABC News and NPR commentator Cokie Roberts.

George Will - End Funding for NPR

Even when government broadcasting began more than 40 years ago, it was a solution in search of a problem. The government is subsidizing entertainment and journalism. Is there a shortage of either? To all those newspaper editorial writers who support the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, I ask: Should there be a Corporation for Public Newspapers? As regards NPR, I ask: Given that there are about 14,000 radio stations in this country, why is it vital to have one more? NPR supporters and NPR itself say that they are so much better than everyone else. If so, why can they not find market support for what they sell?

The answer, rarely stated but clearly implied, is that the listening public is too dimwitted to appreciate how splendid NPR is. At a time of severe budget difficulties, it is simply preposterous to say that government broadcasting is a necessity. Let me be clear: If government broadcasting were as conservative as I am, I would still favor terminating it. And if the government were running a huge surplus, I would still favor getting government out of the entertainment and journalism business, where it does not belong.