September 29, 2016
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Poll: GOP Voters Favor NPR 'Defunding"

By Richard Prince, Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education 

 GENERAL
BLACKS
AFRICAN AMERICAN
LATINO
HISPANIC
MINORITIES
CIVIL RIGHTS
DISCRIMINATION
RACISM
DIVERSITY
RACIAL EQUALITY
BIAS
EQUALITY

 

Juan Williams said on WAMU-FM's "The Diane Rehm Show", "I think that NPR should have money." He went on to say he did not see what sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas had to do with his qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court.



WASHINGTON - "Most Democrats and a plurality of independents want the U.S. government to continue its financial contributions to embattled National Public Radio, while most Republicans oppose continued U.S. funding for NPR," according to a national poll of 1,074 registered voters taken Monday.

A plurality of blacks and Hispanics, and a strong majority of people 18 to 29, opposed a cutoff of funding.

The survey was conducted by Poll Position, whose founding partners include Eason Jordan, longtime CNN news executive, and Jeff Shusterman, co-founder and president of Majority Opinion Research.

Asked, "Should the U.S. government stop helping fund National Public Radio?" 38.9 percent said yes, 44.7 said no and 16.5 percent had no opinion. Among blacks, the figures were 31.4 percent yes, 48.8 percent no and 19.8 percent no opinion. Among Hispanics, they were 38.7 percent yes, 48.2 percent no and 13.1 percent no opinion.

"It’s important to keep in mind, when writing about this issue, that NPR actually receives a lot less money than people might think it does (a fact drummed into listeners’ heads every time a membership drive comes along)," Lauren Kirchner wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. "NPR actually does not receive any government funding for its operations costs.

"For NPR’s individual member stations: see that direct funding from Federal, State & Local governments made up only 5.8 percent of the stations’ revenue in FY 2008. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) contributed another 10.1 percent, but even if you add those up, that’s still only about 16 percent of the stations’ funding coming directly or indirectly from government sources."

Nevertheless, "NPR’s controversial firing last week of news analyst Juan Williams re-ignited a long-time debate over whether U.S. government funds should be channeled to the non-profit radio service," Ted Iliff of Poll Position wrote.


"In partisan terms, Republicans favored ending U.S. funding 54-28 percent, while Democrats wanted the funding to continue 58-25 percent. NPR funding was favored by independents 49-38 percent.

"Broken down by ages, the 18-29 group supported continued taxpayer subsidies 62-30 percent. The 30-44 group narrowly sided with halting the funding 42-39 percent, and older groups were almost evenly split on the idea."

While such Republicans as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and former House speaker Newt Gingrich have raised the issue of "defunding" NPR, Williams has concerned himself more with expressing anger at the organization.

"I think that NPR should have money. I think that people at NPR have to be held accountable for their words and actions," he said Tuesday on "The Diane Rehm Show" on Washington's WAMU-FM, an NPR affiliate. "I'm — to repeat, Diane, I'm a big fan of radio and I think especially the whole notion of public radio and good reporting, so this is not an attempt to wipe out anybody."

Meanwhile, Alicia C. Shepard, NPR's ombudsman, wrote that she had received hundreds of calls and 22,769 e-mails on the Williams firing.

NPR affiliates "were flooded with complaints when the news broke, but not all suffered financially," she continued.

"Stations in St. Louis, Cleveland, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, Amherst, MA and other areas broke records. And in some areas, stations actually benefited from a backlash against the backlash; listeners said they wanted to support NPR against what they perceived as a Fox-News generated attack.

"NPR should salvage a bad situation by turning the underlying points Williams raised, about the widespread concerns, suspicions, and prejudices about Muslims in America into a national conversation," she wrote.

Williams had said on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" that he gets nervous when he sees passengers in "Muslim garb" on an airplane.

"What if NPR in the next few months started a thoughtful, probing conversation airing and addressing our fears, rational or not, about Muslims?" Shepard asked. "What if NPR skillfully explored areas many of us are uncomfortable talking about?

"What if it were done throughout the network with local public radio stations exploring the issue locally with interviews and stories?"

NPR spokeswomen were not responding to questions.

 


STORY TAGS: GENERAL , BLACKS , AFRICAN AMERICAN , LATINO , HISPANIC , MINORITIES , CIVIL RIGHTS , DISCRIMINATION , RACISM , DIVERSITY , RACIAL EQUALITY , BIAS , EQUALITY



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