By now, you’re probably aware of the whole fiasco that had Elon Musk labelling NPR as “state-affiliated media” and later changing it to “government funded media.” NPR wasn’t terribly happy about the whole situation—and had announced earlier today that they would
I believe that having strong, high quality publicly funded media in democracies will stabilize democracy as it will be more difficult by bad actors (e.g. sponsored by authoritarian governments trying to destroy democracy or rich billionaires trying to sway public opinion to create conditions allowing them to pay less taxes and further enrich themselves) to significantly harm public opinions.
Of course, it should be ensured that the public funding remains secured even when voters elect another government (e.g. requiring a super majority of 66% to change the public funding conditions).
For transparent governments, accountable to the people, I have no problem with public funding of anything. The problem is, we don't have that. The Twitter files is one example (of many) that our government does what it feels like behind the scenes to manipulate the citizenry.
Honestly, no one cares if NPR gets funding and does journalism. The problem is that they have strayed from that course for so long it is irrepairable. I heard, last year, an NPR "journalist" YELL at her guest on air that he was wrong about something he was definately not wrong about. They haven't been doing journalism for years. There are ZERO cases where a host should yell at a guest about the facts that guest has been put on air to share, ZERO. This is simply not journalism and not fair, it's not nice, it's not polite, it's rude, wrong and bad.
So, I'll have no tears, no sympathy and absolutely no defense for NPR. Sorry not sorry. Years ago one of their journalists did a story on NPR itself (while still with NPR) pointing out that they had an overwhelming leftist bias. The acknowledged by did not address the issue. This was years ago. So they were aware, they reported it about themselves. However, they did not act. They did this to themselves, for most media, it's been LONG past the time to self correct. No points. zero.
I think the basic problem is that we've lost how long this has been a big problem for in the US in particular. I actually have a video about the fall of the 4th estate for this reason, it happened a long time ago and we missed it. The numbers show it clearly too, which is puzzling to me, really, since anyone paying attention should have seen something had changed, asked the hard questions years ago and tried to fix things. Now it is too late. Bad people need to be removed, corruption is people, not systems.
Like most Americans, I was misinformed about NPR’s funding. This piece corrected my belief that it was mostly funded by the FCC or some other governmental media department. The name “National Public Radio” gives a lot of credence to their reporting whether or not it is deserved. To quote Uncle Ben…”perfect rice, every time”..and… “with great power, comes great responsibility”. I use to listen to NPR in the “00’s”. “All things considered” seemed more objective than it is now. And in LA, “Morning get’s Eclectic” was nice to have on in the background as you worked, with an occasional break in by a low talking, almost whispering DJ, who was saying something about something (who knew, he was whispering), and a news update periodically. But I digress. I think a publicly supported radio station is fine and those who like what they hear can keep supporting it. This is still a capitalist country, right?
I think this “dust up” will actually inform people like Elon Musk and myself of what the station really is. It just picked a great “trustworthy sounding” name. It can report news the way they want to, to the people paying the bills. I have the choice to listen or not to listen as I please.
I think Substack is going to innovate the way we get our news. Legacy Media has been caught lying so frequently that nobody seems to trust them anymore. Digital media sites are hyper partisan. I think it is a great idea whose time has come. I prefer to have a handful of journalists that I feel tell the truth with as little bias as possible, to follow and get my news from. You being one of mine, among others. Again, remember what Uncle Ben said about “great power coming with great responsibility”, as well as having perfect rice. 😉
In Australia, we have the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which receives funding through government grants and is overseen by a government-appointed board. Over time, various rules and legislation have been implemented to ensure it remains free from direct government influence, although the success of these measures is debatable. Objectively speaking, most people would agree that the ABC has a noticeable left-leaning bias, regardless of which major party is in office. The real value of the ABC lies in its extensive coverage of local, rural, and regional news, an area where no other major or private news provider comes close. However, when it comes to social/cultural issues, politics, and geopolitics, I would exercise the same caution in trusting their reporting as I would with any other major media outlet in today's landscape (which is very little).
The free market has a tendency to flush out the extremes of media who are mouthpieces for the left & right. We are at a point where viewership (or listenership) for legacy media is at an all time low. However Cable News subscription fees will keep these media companies afloat. Independent media is growing that is driven on individual subscribers- this is huge.
To answer your question I don’t think public funding for media would change this dynamic to measurable degree. I would lean more on the side of less government involvement
PBS started under President Johnson because we had 4 stations in the late 60’s.. like everything else subsidized by government, it’s turned into a wasteful propaganda bureaucracy. I grew up watching Free To Choose with Milton and Rose Friedman on PBS. The Muppets. Government funding is not necessary and in retrospect, never was. Kill it. Let them compete.
There isn't anything bad or corrupt about public funding. We need public ways to communicate, especially in case of some sort of emergency. "Public" has become a bad word simply because privatizers want to make a buck from public services.
https://meme.aho.st/state-affiliated-media/ is probably more a more accurate description of NPR
No no no money should come from government for media. Absolutely zero.
They should not get public money. 1) I don't want to have money taken out via taxes to go to the government to lie to me with propaganda via these outlets. Most media today has a bias and they are in such echo chambers that they don't even realize it. Or if they do realize it, they think lying is a means to an end which is morally reprehensible.
2) If they are not working in a free market where they have to please their audience with good unbiased reporting then they will take shortcuts and lose quality. We are at a point where we don't have a free market with all these government interventions like subsidies and it is making things worse.