In the wake of the Juan Williams firing, the loyal minions of Sarah Palin and Jim DeDint are pulling out all the stops.
Of the thousands of complaints that have saturated NPR in the wake of Juan Williams’s firing earlier this week, some of the most telling have been from callers describing themselves as long-time "viewers" of NPR who warn that they are going to "stop watching."
As the New York Times helpfully points out:
NPR, of course, does not have viewers, it has listeners. But the public radio organization has come under severe criticism — largely from people who are not listeners, it believes — for having fired Mr. Williams
Now let's be fair--perhaps these are people with old time radio sets who gather in the living room after supper to hear old broadcasts of "The Shadow" or Father Coughlin. So they really may be "watching" NPR. But in all likelihood the only thing they're watching is Glenn Beck or Fox News:
Fox has been something of a home base for the anti-NPR campaign, with hourly reports about the controversy on both its news and opinion programs. Mr. Williams hosted "The O’Reilly Factor" on Friday night, the same venue where, on Monday, he made the comments that led to his firing on Wednesday.
Ms. Schiller said she perceived a media "overreaction" to Mr. Williams’s firing, one that had even set off threats against her children. A camera crew from Fox News followed her from her home on Friday, she added.
Making threats against children actually isn't funny, but for Fox viewers it's admittedly a step up from mailing Anthrax.
Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee has sent a shiver of terror through NPR's hallways:
While I have often enjoyed appearing on NPR programs and have been treated fairly and objectively, I will no longer accept interview requests from NPR as long as they are going to practice a form of censorship...
To a public clamoring for more Mike Huckabee appearances on NPR, this threat is all too real. In fact, NPR's numbers have already seen an impact:
Ms. Schiller said she regretted that the firing had become a "distraction" for local stations during a preplanned pledge drive week. The timing has been a source of concern for stations, but there were no indications on Friday that it was influencing fund-raising.
Jennifer Houlihan, a spokeswoman for New York Public Radio, said the issue "was not hurting" pledges. "We’re hitting or surpassing our goal at this point," she said.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin might need some more space on her palm before she starts spouting more talking points:
"NPR should receive NO fed tax dollars if it operates as intolerant, private radio. Mr. President, what say you?"
But Federal funding accounts for only two percent of NPR's entire budget, and even that funding is indirect:
NPR gets no direct money from the federal government for its $161.8 million annual budget. It does receive some dedicated grants from Corporation for Public Broadcasting for projects like covering the country’s economic crisis; in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 combined, those grants totaled just over $5.2 million. NPR also gets occasional grants from from sources financed by the federal government. In all, NPR said those grants accounted for 1 to 2 percent of its income on average.
I guess Sarah would know that if she had kept "watching."
Update: If you too are a longtime viewer of NPR, you can contact them to express your feelings HERE.