Is NPR ‘State Affiliated Media’?

If you look up National Public Radio on Twitter, you will see that it is now identified as “US state-affiliated media”.  Not surprisingly, officials of NPR are very unhappy about this.  John Lansing, NPR president and CEO, said: “NPR stands for freedom of speech & holding the powerful accountable. A vigorous, vibrant free press is essential to the health of our democracy” and continued:

We were disturbed to see last night that Twitter has labeled NPR as ‘state-affiliated media,” a description that, per Twitter’s own guidelines, does not apply to NPR. Twitter and its member stations are supported by millions of listeners who depend on us for the independent, fact-based journalism we provide….

Full statement here.

So, where does NPR get its funding?  And is it accurate for it to be labeled ‘state-affiliated media’?  Here is NPR’s own page on Public Radio Finances.  Included are revenues of NPR itself and revenues of its Member Stations.  As far as NPR itself goes, I don’t think you can tell from the information provided how much of it comes from the government, it seems to be included in ‘contributions of cash and other assets’ or ‘other revenues’…but other sources indicate that it is less than 1% of NPR total revenues.

BUT,  at least 31% of NPR revenues come from fees paid by the Member stations.  And of the revenues of those member stations, 8% comes from ‘Federal appropriation via CPB’ and 5% from ‘Federal, state and local governments’.  Seems to me that one has to consider those payments to the local stations as part of the government funding of ‘public radio’…in addition to the program fees that are remitted to the NPR entity, the local stations are themselves the essential component in distribution.  If the government gave a trivial amount of money to McDonald’s Hamburgers….but a considerably greater amount to its franchisees…then wouldn’t we consider both numbers when evaluating the degree to which McD’s was government subsidized?

NPR says on its own website:

Federal funding is essential to public radio’s service to the American public and its continuation is critical for both stations and program producers, including NPR.

It’s been argued that NPR is obviously not ‘state-affiliated media’ because it was not supportive of the Trump administration when that administration  was in office…indeed, it was the opposite of supportive  To which my response is: NPR does not represent the elected government, but it represents those who it thinks should be the government.  See my post about the Prince-Electors.

For reference, here is Twitter’s definition of state-affiliated media.

20 thoughts on “Is NPR ‘State Affiliated Media’?”

  1. Anyone who listened to NPR after 9/11 realized that the state it represented was not necessarily the elected state but was certainly the swamp state; its loyalties are with the bureaucrats in Washington and they assume that everything (including our sex lives) are best superintended by the state. And what kind of state is likely to make arguments in which the length or viability of life isn’t valued – I remember one wonderful program that was critical of Borlaug and said his improvements only made for more deaths from contaminants in the hybrid seeds and fertilizer he had worked with to increase longevity in India. Of course, people might be living longer but they still died. sure – and then we can startt working on why they died and how we can improve that. Still most of us consider a longer life a better one – we want to be able to see our great granchildren if possible, to see our grandchildren, to see our children, to see puberty. Each move of the average makes our lives more productive and I suspect happier. Not so NPR – on which the celebration of birth was a good deal less central than the celebration of abortions. Some state! But clearly our state.

  2. Well, if it isn’t the public media arm of the State, then it certainly acts as if it is, relaying the current line in dulcet, reasonable tones.
    And as I noted in my last post, a lot of the old-time NPR operators were almost incestuously embedded in the Washington DC ruling class. I give you Cokie “Hale” Roberts.
    Well, she is now an ex-parrot, pining for the fjords – but she was typical of the breed.

  3. I confess, with admitted irony, that I would be unaware of PenGun’s reference or ANY reference to Humphrey and Hacker were it not for government-sponsored PBS -TV.

  4. I stopped listening to NPR decades ago.During the Reagan years, I voted Third Party, as in “none of the above.” After the 1984 election, I detected a decided sneer in an NPR announcer’s voice when she was discussing Reagan’s victory. At the time, I had no vested interest in either Reagan or Mondale winning, so I doubt I was imagining that sneer directed at Reagan.

    While NPR may not be the official arm of the government, it definitely pushes the same “liberal” POV that most government bureaucrats push.

  5. Nakedly Partisan Radio.

    I listen to (and support) my local affiliate for their music programming, and their top-of-the-hour headline stories from NPR are sure guides to what is acceptable thought on any given topic.

  6. It’s Schrodinger’s funding. Essential to their existence but too trivial to impact their programming.

  7. NPR (and PBS) was formed in order to develop and distribute content outside of a commercial business model in a world of AM/FM , VHF/UHF. These days with technology 50 years on, I would imagine the vast majority of NPR’s programming could be developed if not on a subscriber model than on one heavily funded by a foundation. In other words treat it like a business and/or a think tank.

    Of course once you create a government or even quasi-public agency, it is impossible to get rid of if it has even the tiniest of an active constituency. We have been trying to get rid of this thing since at least the 80s and where has it gotten us? So let’s just admit it and recognize that we are stuck with a small quasi-government agency with an illegitimate purpose and a very small drain on the budget. No more arguments about how government-funded media is un-American, we have already fallen down the slippery slope and plus the Blob gets free (and better) press from CNN. So let’s have some fun with their smugness

    The “state-affiliated” media appendage is a good start. They think of themselves as the BBC but really it’s time for people to see them as Pravda. I have another idea. They have budget trouble and just had to enact large lay-offs. Why not help them out and actually increase their federal funding? The catch is that since they are “National” that they should better represent the nation they serve by closing their headquarters in Washington and Culver City and moving all their operations closer to the center of the nation they serve, say Sioux City. Also say that back open parcel of land just downwind of the stockyards. How are we going to pay for the move? Easy, take it fron the budget for that new $1 billion FBI headquarters. Better yet move the FBI out there with them,

    Think of all the new programming ideas that such a move would generate. A new Odd Couple with a tough, crewcutted FBI SAC having to split an apartment (Sioux City doesn’t have enough housing to handle thousands of new bureaucrats) with a body-pierced NPR-employed vegan; however both are united in their fight against domestic extremism. All the running gags and sub-plots; dealing with the locals and open-carry laws, assault rosaries, and the bitterness from the NPR vegan everytime he sees the stockyards.

    We did allow some NPR for the kids when they grew up. When they got too rowdy, instead of inside voices, we told them to use their NPR voices. Also on long car rides they kept themselves amused by updating “punch buggy” to instead identify cars driven by NPR listeners.

  8. LB…local stations actually own & operate the television transmitters, also, at least some of them produce programs, some of which are local and some of which are made available for syndication.

  9. My local public radio outlet does produce original programming – but hours of classical music programming are relayed from another, larger system – Minnesota Public Radio. Which is a pain in the butt for me because of their devotion to wokeism (woman, black and women/black composers until I feel like stabbing myself in the eardrums) , but likely cheaper than generating local classical programming, which is something that used to be done … until they went ahead and fired nearly all the local announcers, who provided music generated out of the library, 24-7. Which was an amazing collection – the complete Phillips collection of everything that Mozart composed took up almost a complete shelf.

  10. Sgt. Mom, my local NPR station has also gotten rid of local programs in favor of national programs. As the local programs/DJs had their own idiosyncracies, this was a change for the worse. Though a liberal would reply that all change is good.

    Which means I have no regrets in no longer giving financial support to the local NPR station.

  11. I had the same thought as Locomotive Breath.

    I have a wonderful memory about NPR. Back in the stone ages I would visit my grandparents up in northern Wisconsin for the Summer. The only station that my grandmother would listen to was the local NPR station, and that was my introduction to a lot of classical music.

    I imagine there wasn’t a lot of ideological tilt like there is now but I was just a kid and didn’t really know what was going on.

  12. Many of the NPR or PBS stations are attached to state-supported institutions. WTMD is connected to and funded by Towson U., a public university.

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