Heritage's 2025 Project Offers Blueprint Toward Federal Defunding of PBS, NPR

July 10th, 2024 10:40 AM

The Heritage Foundation’s attention-getting Project 2025 initiative, which so far has been more fear-mongered about than actually described, includes a blueprint of limited-government policy proposals for limited government, the 900-page “2025 Mandate for Leadership.” Among those proposals for the next president to peruse is a call to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds the liberal forums PBS (the Public Broadcasting "Service") and National Public Radio on the taxpayer’s nickel.

Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and member of the Free Speech Alliance led by the Media Research Center, laid out the case for denying federal money to those liberal outlets and provided historical context for defunding, noting that “Every Republican President since Richard Nixon has tried to strip the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) of taxpayer funding.” And, has failed.

Gonzalez argued “the government should not be compelling the conservative half of the country to pay for the suppression of its own views,” and noted that “PBS and NPR do not even bother to run programming that would attract conservatives. And those conservatives are tuning out the programming they are obliged to support through their taxes.

He cited a 2014 Pew Research poll showing that 60 percent of PBS’s audience identifies itself as either “mostly liberal” or “consistently liberal.” That’s compared to 15 percent “mostly conservative” or “consistently conservative.”

NPR’s audience stood even further left according to Pew, with 67 percent identifying as liberal compared with just 12 percent conservative. The author cracked, “That may be an acceptable business model for MSNBC or CNN, but not for a taxpayer-subsidized broadcaster.”

Gonzalez offered suggestions on how the next president could take the lead in stopping the federal spigot of money flowing to biased public television and radio. Defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting wouldn’t be the end of NPR or PBS, given that “The membership model that the CPB uses, along with the funding from corporations and foundations that it also receives, would allow these broadcasters to continue to thrive….shorn of the presumption that they act in the public interest.”

Defunding would also strip National Public Radio (and other, even further-left publicly funded entities like Pacifica Radio) of the advantage of being an official “noncommercial educational” (NCE) radio station, such as better placement on the radio dial and exemption from licensing fees.