Conspiring against Click and Clack, House Republicans successfully voted to prevent federal funding of National Public Radio (NPR) last Thursday. While many Republicans celebrated their coup against the “Planned Parenthood” of the airwaves, six Republicans joined the Democrats in voting against the measure — one of whom was freshman Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), of MTV’s “Real World” fame. Noting that local public radio plays a vital role in serving rural areas in his district, Duffy called the bill an unfair move against local radio that will “pull the rug out from under them immediately“:
Duffy says a majority of rural public radio stations get most of their funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. While many stations are turning towards more traditional sources of income like local sponsors and advertising, he says many don’t have the resources in place to make the switch right now.
While Duffy says he’s against cutting off funding, that isn’t to mean he’s against budget cuts. “The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is no sacred cow, but for rural communities – such as those in Wisconsin, and my district in particular – public broadcasting plays a critical role.”
As Duffy’s Wisconsin colleague Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) noted, 27 million Americans listen to NPR each week and nearly 450,000 Wisconsinites listen to Wisconsin Public Radio weekly. “Because Wisconsin is largely a rural state, our citizens rely on over-the-air broadcasting more than almost any other state,” she said. Assuring that he would “work to help make cuts in the over all budget,” Duffy insisted that “there must be a balance between cutting spending and maintaining funding that accomplishes valuable priorities.”