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National Public Radio's Juan Williams shown in this April 2001 file photo has been fired for comments he made regaring Muslims, it has been reported on October 21, 2010. Williams, who appeared on the television show The O'Reilly Factor on October 18, 2010, made the following comment to Bill O'Reilly, Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous, Williams said. Before working for NPR, Williams spent 21 years at The Washington Post as an editorial writer and White House reporter. UPI/Bill Greenblatt/FILES Photo via Newscom

WASHINGTON – National Public Radio CEO Vivian Schiller says funding from the taxpayers through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is only a tiny fraction of NPR’s budget.

“We do apply for competitive grants from the likes of the Ford Foundation and the Knight Foundation. As a result, some money from CPB does come to us when we win grants. Depending on the year, it represents just 1 percent to 3 percent of our total budget,” she’s said.

NPR apologist Norah O’Donnell also tossed out the 1-percent to 3-percent range, and AP reporter Brett Zongker reported, “Federal grants provide less than 2 percent – or $3.3 million – of NPR’s $166 million annual budget.”

But almost one-quarter – 23 percent – of the money NPR gets comes from the taxpayers, meaning congressional chatter about defunding NPR over the Juan Williams firing could pose a serious threat to the organization.

Mark Browning, at The American Thinker, calculated NPR’s taxpayer subsidy numbers based on figures publicly available on NPR’s own website.

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Browning estimates that NPR’s 900 member stations receive approximately 41 percent of their funding directly or indirectly from taxpayers, primarily through tax deductions, grants from government-funded universities and direct grants by federal, state and local governments.


The member stations are responsible for nearly half of NPR’s total annual revenues, according to NPR. Because roughly 40 percent of the member stations’ revenues come indirectly or directly from taxpayers, Browning concludes that at least 20 percent of NPR’s total budget comes from taxpayers. In addition, 10 percent of NPR’s budget comes from “Grants and Contributions.” Browning estimates conservatively that one-third of this category, or 3 percent of the total, comes from taxes.

“This brings our total of taxpayer support for the entire NPR budget to around 23 percent,” writes Browning.

Several Republican members of Congress recently have called for defunding NPR after the organization fired commentator Juan Williams for admitting he “gets nervous” when he boards an airplane and sees fellow passengers dressed in Muslim garb.

“NPR’s decision to fire Juan Williams not only undermines [freedom of speech], it shows an ignorance of the fact that radical Islam and the terrorists who murder in its name scare people of all faiths, religions and beliefs,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., according to Fox News.


Eric Cantor


Williams said Friday on ABC that NPR was “looking for a reason to get rid of me” because of his appearances on Fox News.

Cantor said the Republican Party will add NPR to its YouCut program, which invites citizens to identify federal programs they would like to defund, reported the Washington Times.

Texas Republican Joe Barton, ranking minority member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said his committee would investigate the Williams firing if the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in the upcoming election.

South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint has said he plans to introduce legislation in the Senate to end federal funding for NPR. In the House, Colorado Republican Doug Lamborn has introduced legislation to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which subsidizes NPR.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, both potential GOP presidential candidates in 2012, have called on Congress to defund NPR.

In his American Thinker article, Browning arrived at his 41 percent figure for NPR member station funding by adding numbers from various funding categories to the 5.6 percent NPR identifies as “Federal, state, and local government funds.”

These include almost all of the 10.1 percent of funds NPR member stations receive from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is federally funded. He adds three-quarters, or 10 percent, of the 13.6 percent of funds member stations receive from universities.

Nearly two-thirds of NPR member station funding, or 64 percent, comes from tax-deductible contributions from individuals, businesses and foundations. Browning estimates that this money would be taxed at the 25-percent bracket, so one-quarter of the 64 percent, or 16 percent, comes out of the taxpayer’s pocket through a tax-code subsidy.

Rounding the numbers, 5 percent plus 10 percent plus 10 percent plus 16 percent adds up to 41 percent of NPR member stations’ total budgets coming from the taxpayer.


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