A classmate of mine, an Israeli Arab, taught me a phrase I will paraphrase here, as it was indelicate in the original: There is nothing wrong with carving a little something for yourself out of the hind end of a pig. Translated: If you hold the person you’re scheming on robbing in contempt – by all means, rob him blind. (My friend was the recipient of a scholarship courtesy of the Israeli taxpayer whom he despised – you can see where our disagreement lay.)
For today’s purposes, the justified robber is the public broadcaster in all its offshoots – NPR (National Public Radio), PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) and, in my case, “KCTS 9 Connects,” of Washington state. The hind end belongs to the American taxpayer. The propagandists hate their meal ticket, but feed off its flesh all the same.
To his credit, the recently fired Ron Schiller, president of the NPR Foundation and senior VP for development at NPR, has agreed with fiscal conservatives on the need to eliminate federal funding for his organization, which gets $90 million annually off the backs of some “seriously racist, racist” taxpayers (Schiller’s words). Scrap that: Doing away with taxpayer subsidies for public broadcasting was a point of agreement between this NPR functionary and a few fictitious Muslim philanthropists.
Members of the so-called Muslim Education Action Center Trust had lured Schiller to lunch. Amir Malik and Ibrahim Kasaam were really associates of gonzo journalist James O’Keefe, who played the pimp in the ACORN undercover operation. The luncheon was a trap. The bait: breaking bread with two blokes who boasted about their ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
We aim to “spread the acceptance of Shariah across the world,” stated the MEAC’s website. Boy, does O’Keefe know how to whet appetites at NPR! At the Café Milano, at ease among philosophical friends, an animated Schiller carried forth as follows:
The current Republican Party … has been hijacked by the tea party. … Tea party supporters are seriously racist, racist people … not just Islamophobic, but xenophobic. Basically, they believe in white, middle-America, gun-totting, I mean it’s pretty scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people. It feels to me as though there is a real anti-intellectual move on the part of a significant part of the Republican Party. In my personal opinion, liberals might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives.
The American malaise, carped this philosopher king, was “much more about anti-intellectualism than it is about politics.” Schiller lamented at length the fact that the “educated elites” formed only a tiny portion of the American population. Consequently, “a very large uneducated part of the population carried these ideas.”
Betsy Liley, Schiller’s “repulsive sidekick,” who holds the comical title of senior director of institutional giving at NPR, was delighted to hear the men from MEAC refer to NPR as “National Palestinian Radio,” for its championing of that cause. Every bit as sanctimonious about her mission as her NPR companion, Liley added that the American Jewish World Service may not agree with what “we put on air, but they find us important to them.”
Still, brooded Schiller, “If we lost federal funding altogether, a lot of stations would go dark.”
At last, some good news.
Look, I respect Jim Lehrer of PBS’ “NewsHour.” He is the consummate newsman. Moreover, I relish reading the NewsHour online. The reports there are top-notch. News bulletins on other sites, including at FoxNews.com, have become script-averse and consist mainly of moving pictures – you don’t read words; you watch YouTube. The “NewsHour” has retained a fidelity to the written word. This particular PBS program will not struggle for private funding.
How I hope, however, that the lights go out on “KCTS 9 Connects,” in my neck of the woods. My brief encounter with the producers of this PBS show began when I was given a cameo on KCTS to debate the media’s dereliction of duty during the invasion of Iraq. I had come out in opposition to the invasion on Sept. 19, 2002. “KCTS 9 Connects” liked WND columns such as “In bed with the military,” and “On pimps and ‘presstitutes,’” which exposed the journalistic jingoism that was the coverage of the high-tech media extravaganza known as “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
Back then, almost all my neoconservative and Republican “friends” had vanished. My column’s syndication fell through: Creators could not get any newspaper or website editor to carry the thing. Naturally, I was thrilled when the left showed an interest in the anti-war perspective of a libertarian of the Old Right.
KCTS’s intellectual curiosity was short-lived. I continued to send them my column, but must have gone terribly wrong with “Obama’s racial ramrodding.” The column followed on the revelation that Barack Obama had told a radio show host that the woman who raised him with a great deal of love was apparently “a typical white woman.” “Richly revealing was the way Obama tarred his maternal (white) grandma with the taint of racism,” I wrote, “because she ‘once confessed her fear of black men who passed [her by] on the street.’ … Grandma … has still not acquitted herself for expressing a visceral fear borne of the brutal reality of crime in this country.”
“TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST IMMEDIATELY – i COMPLETELY DISAGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE WRITTEN!” KCTS’s Lesley McClurg screamed back at me in caps March 24, 2008.
Calmly, I quizzed Ms. McClurg about the facts with which she “disagreed.” After all, the question of factual correctness had not cropped up when KCTS invited me on to illuminate truths toward which they were well-disposed. I urged McClurg to open up the debate over controversial issues. Otherwise, she and the public broadcaster she represented risked cementing their role as “custodians of consensus” – acting to confine and shape debate, just as other (privately sponsored) rival networks did at the height of the unjust war.