- The Washington Times - Friday, January 7, 2000

A few months ago I, along with many other Americans, was subjected to another fund-raising fiasco hosted by America's great experiment in publicly funded propaganda, a.k.a. National Public Radio.
I confess that, yet again, I did not call in and "pay my fair share," as one announcer put it.
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty tired of being told by some second-rate disc jockey that his job depends on my contribution as if NPR was a charity of sorts.
I am told repeatedly that my local NPR station exists on public contributions. This statement is, of course, correct. NPR does exist on public contributions much like the government exists on public contributions. We call them taxes, and if you choose not to contribute, or if the government believes your donation is a little lean, you could have all your assets frozen and spend some time in jail with other "volunteers."
We are supposed to feel good about our giving, we are told, because public radio offers programs that no private radio station would air.
Well, yes, precisely! No businessman from Boaz, Ala., would waste expensive air time letting some know-nothing writer living on a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts expound for half an hour on the effects of growing up gay in a Catholic neighborhood in New York; or listen to some obscure garage band mix Bluegrass music with Gregorian chants.
There must be more people like me, who really don't care about the plight of women artists in Muslim countries; or a student-led gun buyback program in Los Angeles; or the latest babbling coming from the tree-hugger lobby; or the incessantly boring political commentaries from Beltway elitists with big mouths and even bigger egos.
No matter how exciting or important world news might be, people in my area of the country are more interested in local issues their local issues. We are more concerned about the extension of deer season than with the craftily spun details of some oppressed African tribe's quest to save its hunting lands from the big, bad businessmen. We want to hear the latest reports on how local agribusiness is going; not about how our tractor emissions are supposedly contributing to the greenhouse effect.
When we flip over to the public radio station, we get some silly report on how women are making strides in traditionally male-dominated sports. So what? Does it matter? What's the big deal? And why the heck are you wasting my tax money to report it?
Public radio is a public nuisance. It essentially allows every reject of the free market to have his or her own soapbox at the competitors' expense through taxation. Sure, there are the occasional nuggets of truth and beauty, but your ears must endure hours of cruel and unusual punishment for the momentary respite.
The dizziest spin doctors, the most obscure "experts," and the lunatic fringe of the Marxist left all have their pulpit on NPR even though most would probably not find one private radio station in a hundred that would give them five minutes between the hours of 2 and 3 a.m.
I say let's make Garrison Keillor tell jokes about Southern Baptists on his own dime, and the next time Linda Werthheimer, Robert Siegel, Bob Edwards and all their left-leaning friends ask us to "contribute" to keep them on the air, we can uniformly respond, "Base is the slave that pays."
As the Scripture says, "The leech has two daughters: Give, Give."

Matt Chancey is a self-described Southern Agrarian and freelance writer from Rileyville, Va.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide