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.

To all who'd like to raise my taxes and fees to help pay off the National Debt
Obama said it, it must be true
  • I was on a road trip yesterday, and the only radio I could pick up and stand to listen to was NPR

    In order of things I would listen to on the radio (bottom 5):

    Oldies
    Polka
    Static
    Our new alien overlords giving their commands
    NPR

  • I would sing the Kazakh National Anthem repeatedly for nine hours before I would listen to NPR for one minute.

    • It’s good to occasionally listen in on the enemy and see what they are up to in their fevered swamps.

    • Yeah, but it loses something in translation, and after 4-5 hours must get mighty tiring:

      Sky of golden sun,Steppe of golden seed,Legend of courage -Take a look at my country!

      From the antiquityOur heroic glory emerged,They did not give up their prideMy Kazakh people are strong!

      Chorus:My country, my country,As your flower I will be planted,As your song I will stream, my country!My native land – My Kazakhstan!

      The way was opened to the posterityI have a vast land.Its unity is proper,I have an independent country.

      It welcomed the timeLike an eternal friend,Our country is happy,Such is our country.

      Chorus (twice):

      • Wait — you mean the words Borat sang at the rodeo aren’t right?

  • I rarely listen – as in perhaps once or twice a year – but there’s lots of decent programming on NPR.  As long as they stay away from politics, they do a good job.  They do tend to find a way to inject conventional liberal “wisdom” into unrelated topics, but when they restrain those impulses, there is some very good reporting on interesting subjects.

    But there is no earthly reason why they need a federal subsidy.  No broadcaster deserves that, and no one with a subsidy can possibly be objective about their benefactor.  That doesn’t mean they won’t criticize the government; they certainly do whenever Republicans have any control.  But they are wedded to the idea of statism which justifies their subsidies.

    Norquist did handle the quoted questioning very well, and I’ll take Jay’s word on the rest.  He’s still an idiot for opposing closing loopholes in tax laws, though, and only an idiot would sign his – or any – “pledge” as a candidate.  It is senseless, baseless pandering in its lowest form.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, but no real need to take my word for it — I linked to the transcript of the entire interview.  Here are some examples:

      For example, would you like to do away completely Social Security?

      Would you like to see Medicare and Medicaid abolished?

      Would you like to see (Medicaid) demolished altogether?

      And let’s talk about food safety and the FDA. What would you like to see happen to the FDA? …So would you like to see the elimination of the FDA?

      Department you’d like to see completely eliminated. The Department of Education, how would you feel about that?

      But you’re — Grover, you’re not really answering my question. What I’m
      asking is you want to make government so small it would drown in a
      bathtub. And what I’m trying to ask — and you’re sort of going around
      each question I ask — is what departments in the federal government
      would you like to see eliminated totally?

      So the Department of Agriculture.

      What about the Department of Homeland Security?

      Would you like to see the Department of Defense eliminated?

      Is there any one agency you would like to see completely abolished?

      Would you like to see the Department of Education abolished?

      Is there one department in the U.S. federal government that you would like to see eliminated completely?

      So would you like to eliminate the Department of Agriculture?

      So there is not… .a single department of the federal government that you’d like to eliminate?

      Good lord, it was JUST like arguing with a lot of liberal trolls I’ve dealt with.

      J.

  • Anonymous

    O’Reilly is a bloviating blathering bully who can dish it out but can’t take it.  He does worse with his guests every night.

    • I’d sing Borat’s version of the Kazakh National Anthem continuously for six hours before I’d watch a minute of O’Reilly.

      You may now resume not making sense.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you, pretty much, about O’Reilly.

      However, my tax dollars don’t pay for him and his show. Rehm, as I noted, I do subsidize. And since she’s on “National Public Radio,” she’s also kinda-sorta acting in my name.

      Bit of a difference…

      J.

  • Tanuki Man

    Diane passed her unsell by date about a decade ago. She stays on the air like Helen Thomas remained in the White House Press Corpse (hat tip: Barack Obama), so liberals can congratulate themselves for being caring and compassionate to old people.

  • Meiji Man

    I get on a NPR listening kick every once and a while, Diane is usually the cure for it. Not just the questions but that smug liberal ass tone she gets in her voice makes me want to knock her out of her Depends. But she’s old and she will die, and I’m young and will live so I’m happy. 

  • Oysteria

    Rehm is certainly bad enough, but Terry Gross is absolutely appalling.  She’s completely unable to hide her contempt for some of her interviewees.  Her smug self-righteousness screams, “I hate you and everything you stand for!” in every question.

    I’ve never seen a picture of her, but like anyone you’ve dealt with on a telephone without knowing them, you create a mental image.  The one I’ve created for Gross is not pretty.

  • Jeff Blogworthy

    “I’m no fan of Bill O’Reilly”

    You too? He’s rubbed me the wrong way from the start. Fox could do better.