At the request of Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., the non-partisan Congressional Research Service has produced a short report on how much NPR and PBS together receive from the taxpayer via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The answer for the current fiscal year (2011) is $430 million.
Federal funds make up about 13.7 percent of the revenue from public broadcasting. By comparison, about 24.4 percent comes from “viewers/listeners like you,” with the remainder coming from business and foundation grants.
In the news release announcing this report, DeMint hardly hides his contempt for NPR’s recent decision to fire Juan Williams. But it is much more difficult to argue with the notion that government-funded journalism is an expensive anachronism:
“We can’t keep borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars from China each year to fund public radio and public TV when there are so many choices already in the market for news and entertainment. If CPB is defunded, taxpayers will save billions. This is just one of the many cuts Congress should make next year.
Just as relevant, perhaps, are the facts that there are surely enough big foundations and George Soroses in the world to keep Sesame Street on the air, and that NPR executives might be paid pretty well for quasi-government employment.