Putting National Public Radio’s firing of Juan Williams aside, the more important question is why does NPR (or PBS, for that matter) continue to exist in this era of hundreds of cable and satellite outlets and thousands of radio stations and hundreds of thousands of Internet choices?
It can’t be for balance. Just ask any liberal whether he thinks there aren’t enough conservative voices on the air, and he’ll probably laugh at you. And you may have heard that conservatives believe there’s a glut of liberal voices. It also can’t be for variety. What with The History Channel, The Smithsonian Channel, Logo, The Food Network, et al, what voids do these publicly-funded networks fill? And it certainly can’t be for tolerance of opposing views; just ask Juan Williams.
I think both NPR and PBS provide some really good programming (where else can I get my fix of doo-wop music and Fawlty Towers reruns?), but as deficits explode, it might be a good time to ask whether the need for so-called public broadcasting has passed.