11A068 Schiller's "Oops" by Jim Davies, 3/10/2011    

Vivian Schiller is the CEO of NPR - or was. She resigned, a few minutes after I started writing this yesterday (another sign of ZGB's growing influence?) Her colleague Ron Schiller, unrelated, had been caught on camera saying the Tea Party is full of uneducated racists and (separately) that NPR doesn't really need tax money; he had already departed. In Congress Eric Cantor is taking him at his word, at least on the latter, and urges a pulling of the tax-funding plug.

I was surprised that only 2% of PB revenues came that way, having supposed it was a much larger portion. The rest comes from sponsorship and from viewer donations, and those are okay because they are voluntary. The tax portion is not okay, because it is compulsory.

Schiller's remarks about the Tea Party are wrong, and since he represents a supposedly impartial outfit he was wrong to say it. The TP does have a range of views among its members, but on the whole its tenor is far preferable to almost anything else in politics and many of them are perfectly well educated. Its main flaw, as noted in Reactionary TV, is that like everyone else in politics it fails to propose an abolition of politics. Schiller's organization shares that basic fault, and that is what is most wrong with NPR and PBS.

Generally, the quality of their broadcasts is very high, so I often choose them over others; Car Talk is a Saturday staple. Their underlying world view is certainly statist, and usually "liberal", that delightful adjective hijacked by socialists. That vital flaw apart, the journalism is professional and stimulating. Further, let it be noted that PB takes quite seriously its mission to be impartial; in a former life I was active in the Libertarian Party and not infrequently, we would be excluded from all broadcasts in election season except by the local PBS affiliate. Further yet: while the flagship News Hour program is monotonously statist and considers not "what should be done?" but only "what should government do?" one does fairly often see a guest from a more enlightened think-tank such as Cato.

Even so, a heavy hypocrisy prevails. They parade the absence of "commercials," but every few months they interrupt their programs to solicit donations, and they go on and on and on, and while commercials just occasionally include something informative or even funny, these begathons are relieved by no such virtue, ever. If I had to choose, give me an honest commercial every time. Further, the sponsorships are in any case disguised commercials, as in "This program is made possible by Exxon..." Why not be honest, and go fully commercial? - the standard of programming could remain just as high, the target audience would be the same (people who like cultural and intellectual stimulation rather than elevator or jungle music) and while smaller, that is an important market segment for many advertisers.

Here's what's up with all broadcasting: it's regulated by government. Frequencies are allocated; there is no market. Content is policed by censors; there is no freedom to say whatever listeners like to hear. Signals are emitted only under FCC license. Let a broadcaster step out of line, and he's off the air. No wonder Howard Stern had to go into outer space, where he says he found an "enormous freedom"; happily, subscription satellite stations are exempt. That's the way it should be with all broadcasting; it's part of what is meant by "free speech" and all this goes for commercial as well as "public" broadcasters. In the coming zero government society, there will be no means of enforcing anything else.

Your feedback, please!

  Had enough GOVERNMENT yet?    www.TheAnarchistAlternative.info