If you haven’t heard, a NPR executive was forced to resign after an undercover recording by the minions of James O’Keefe. I don’t see why anyone’s getting bent out of shape because said executive called the Tea Party “racist”–some of them are quite bigoted, and other are scary, gun toting people (remember, they brought weapons to townhall meetings about healthcare). But I digress. What seems to have become a talking point is this statement:
Republicans play off the belief among the general population that most of our funding comes from the government. Very little of our funding comes from the government, but they act as if all our funding comes from the government… it is very clear that in the long run we would be better off without federal funding. And the challenge right now is that if we lost it altogether, we’d have a lot of stations go dark.
I’m not sure it’s very little funding–as best as I can tell, it’s about twenty percent (roughly one quarter is direct from the government, and the rest from the goverment funding Center for Public Broadcasting). But in 2009, the entire operating budget for NPR was around $170 million. Hell, let’s be conservative by rounding up and call it an even $200 million. If we use the twenty percent figure, then in the future (adjusted for inflation), NPR will receive somewhere around $40 million from the government.
So, here’s how I think NPR should play it:
Announce that you’re going on a massive five year capital drive to raise an $800 million dollar endowment (five percent of $800 million is $40 million). Universities are able to get these sums from a much smaller giving pool. It shouldn’t be hard.
Then publicly solicit conservative groups for the endowment. Ask the Heritage Foundation to co-host a fundraiser. Hell, ask James O’Keefe to help out (he has some good video skills, or so I hear). They’re the ones who always argue that NPR shouldn’t receive any government funding. So, why don’t they step up and replace that funding?
No taxes would be involved, so it’s not TEH SOCIALISMZ!! Just the old-fashioned virtue they always preach.