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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Logical Extension of Cutting NPRs Funding Due to Juan William's Firing

The way a significant number of the argument for defunding NPR after the firing Juan William's go something like this: "NPR receives federal funds and therefore violated Juan William's First Amendment Rights by firing him for his comments." Essentially saying that because NPR receives some federal funding, they are a quasi government entity and therefore must follow government personel rules. One website even went on to analyis NPR funding down to what it is indirectly receiving through tax exempt contributions.

It is harder to fire people in the government because there is the fear of politically motivated terminations that would have a chilling effect on government employees. Most private employment is at will and terminations can be for almost any reason. My question is: What if we started treating any entity that receives federal funding as a quasi governmental organization? General Motors? Citibank? Chase? What about Government contractors? Lockheed? Boeing? Worse yet, if you follow WND's analysis of indirect funding through tax benefits, this probably extends to any number of companies including all of Big Oil and Big Ag. Should all of these company be restricted in their ability to fire people because they receive federal funding either directly or indirectly?

This seems to me the logical extension of treating NPR like a quasi governmental organization because it receives federal funding and tax exemptions. To scream for the defunding of NPR because it fired someone over comments made to another media outlet could lead to the exact opposite of what Republicans profess to want. It would severily restrict private industry's ability to conduct its business.

If you want to defund NPR because you think the government should be in the media business that is understandable, but do not use NPR's business decision to fire Juan Williams as an excuse. It could lead down a road that no reasonable person would want.