Yet More Reasons Why We Should Keep Funding NPR

I’m no fan of Bill O’Reilly, but I do recognize he has his uses, his followers, and his insights. Several years ago, he was on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, plugging one of his books. Gross, after the opening chat, started hitting O’Reilly with various critical comments she’d collected. O’Reilly handled the first few, then asked her two simple questions:

First, did she have anything but negative reviews and comments to quote about his book? No.

Next, had she ever had an author on who was confronted with exclusively ngative reviews and comments? No.

 

At that point, O’Reilly walked out of the interview. And rightfully so — as he discerned and Gross admitted, she had deliberately treated him worse than she had any other author who’d agreed to be her guest. Walking out was the most polite thing he could have done.

 

Well, it’s nice to see that at NPR, they’re consistent in their biases. I was on a road trip yesterday, and the only radio I could pick up and stand to listen to was NPR. I caught the tail end of Diane Rehm’s interview with Grover Norquist, and she asked him “Is there one department in the U.S. federal government that you would like to see eliminated completely?”

That’s a fairly blunt, open-ended question, and it plays right into the left’s stereotypes of people like Norquist. And there are two reasons for asking such a question. The first is, to give the subject the chance to confront it head-on, address it as candidly as possible, and just smack it out of the park, possibly even killing it as a stereotype. That’s what I think Chris Wallace was trying to do for Michele Bachmann when he asked her if she was a flake, and she blew it.

 

The other reason is because the interviewer believes the stereotype, and wants to drive it home. They want to take that idea and hang it around the subject’s neck like a millstone, and toss them in the river.

 

Gee, I wonder which of those was Rehm’s motivation?

REHM
Is there one department in the U.S. federal government that you would like to see eliminated completely?
NORQUIST
Well, there are probably lots and lots of little ones. I’m more interested in reforming the whole thing, but I’m not sure that agriculture subsidies, where the government subsidizes people for growing certain crops. I don’t see any role for that.
REHM
So would you like to eliminate the Department of Agriculture?
NORQUIST
No. The trick there is the Department of Agriculture, like all these other departments, has many, many things inside it.
REHM
Of course.
NORQUIST
So if you said get rid of the whole thing, there are pieces of that department that I’m not even aware of what they are.
REHM
So there is not…
NORQUIST
So…
REHM
…a single department of the federal government that you’d like to eliminate?
NORQUIST
Well, there may well be. But if I was trying to reduce the size and scope of government, I wouldn’t start by going into a department that does 200 things, most of which, you know, I don’t necessarily know exactly what they are. I would rather go in and say, let’s have full transparency, which has been a major project of Americans for Tax Reform over the last three years, getting state governments, and now the federal government, to put every expenditure online.
NORQUIST
Actually, an idea that came out of Texas with Gov. Rick Perry, but now 26 states, Republicans and Democrats, have passed laws that every check written by the government, every contract the government runs into should be online, so you can see if somebody’s brother-in-law is getting that contract. That saves a lot of money. But there’s no particular department that disappears, and yet it makes government more accountable and saves money. If you’re waiting…
REHM
All right.
NORQUIST
…you know, we’re not interested in lopping off arms and limbs. We are interested…
REHM
Okay.
NORQUIST
It’s like losing weight — which limb would you lose? We don’t want to lose any of them.
REHM
All right.
NORQUIST
But we do want to lose weight.

Now, that was just one part of the conversation. The part I heard. But going through the entire transcript, it’s clear that Rehm had one goal when she started: to get Norquist to pick put a single federal department he would say should be eliminated entirely. Norquist, however, wasn’t playing her game, and avoided her (very obvious) trap quite deftly. He got his points across — indeed, he hammered them home despite her best efforts to play the good liberal media personality (but I repeat myself) and find some way to trip him up, entangle him, get him to confirm the liberal stereotypes of conservatives and libertarians.

 

For the first time in my adult life, I was proud to be an American taxpayer, knowing that I was helping to pay Diane Rehm’s paycheck, and subsidize the production, distribution, and broadcast of this program.

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