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I Want My NPR: Public Radio Funding Most Important Issue for Its Listeners
7/1/2011 8:03 AM Katie
In a Gallup poll of regular NPR listeners released today, 92% of those polled described NPR funding as a “very important” issue and 87% described it as “the most important factor in choosing a political candidate.” These listeners put public radio funding ahead of such issues as use of military force, healthcare, education, abortion, gun control, free speech, immigration and separation of church and state. The remaining 13% listed only “planting wildflowers on the shoulders of highways” as more important than NPR funding.
"I make over 200 grand a year," said one woman who was polled. "What do I care about getting free healthcare? The way I see it, if I have to fund drug addicts' medical treatment, they should also be funding my 'This American Life' addiction."
Despite the stereotype of NPR listeners as liberals, many Republican presidential candidates took the opportunity to pander to this group.
“If you let me make abortion illegal and hand out guns on every street corner, I can certainly throw you a couple thousand for ‘Car Talk,’” said Michele Bachmann in an interview on NPR's "The Diane Rehm Show."
Ron Paul promised that if he could slash funding in every other area of government spending, he would actually raise funding for NPR. "Yes, it goes against everything I stand for," said Paul. "But this just might be only the way I can get elected. If only the masses weren't too stupid to understand the writings of the glorious Ayn Rand, I wouldn't have to stoop to giving money to public radio."
Bachmann and Paul's poll numbers have both shot up 20 percentage points among Democrats since making these statements.
NPR officials, however, were ambivalent about the poll’s findings. “Of course we want more money,” said NPR’s president Joyce Slocum. “But I wonder if our listeners have missed the point.” - Return to Previous Page
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