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Station officials insist that they operate without state influence. “I think they make a good case that they’re separate and independent,” said Mr. Hamer.

Given that Planned Parenthood also receives state support, however, the result is a “very twisted arrangement,” said Bryan Myrick, publisher of the online NW Daily Marker, which may be the only Seattle-Tacoma media outlet covering the story.

NPR has come under national criticism over allegations of liberal bias, notably in its 2011 firing of longtime commentator Juan Williams, who also appears on Fox News. Republicans have tried unsuccessfully in the past to cut off its federal funding, saying a government-funded radio network is inconsistent with free speech.