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Republicans Target NPR and CPB

The House Energy & Commerce Committee
will “examine certain editorial and employment
standards and practices” at National Public Radio
as part of its communications oversight, according
to the committee oversight plan, which was
adopted last week by voice vote. It cites “recent
controversies involving NPR.”

Those issues include NPR’s firing of commentator
Juan Williams; an investigation into the
dismissal; and the resignation of the person who
made the decision—Ellen Weiss, senior VP, news.

The committee also plans to investigate the
financing of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,
which provides funds to NPR and PBS, to
determine whether that funding should continue.

A Republican-backed continuing resolution
as proposed included phasing out CPB funding
for the rest of this year, while President Obama
proposed forward funding of noncom broadcasting
in his just-released budget.

Energy & Commerce Chairman Fred Upton
(R-Mich.) had already signaled his belief that NPR
has a political agenda. After Williams’ firing over
his comments about Muslims on The O’Reilly
, Upton said the move “[tore] down the
thin veil that once shrouded this taxpayer-subsidized
organization’s political bias.”