By Sara Jerome - 10/22/10 06:35 PM EDT
As House Republicans continued to call for NPR to be defunded on Friday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) drew attention to a large grant the company received this month from the left-leaning philanthropist George Soros.
He even suggested some new shows for National Public Radio: "Dancing with the Czars" and "Socialist Survivor," to name a few.
The Open Society Foundation announced this month it would provide a $1.8 million grant to the outlet, allowing it to fund 100 new reporters over the next three years. Soros established the foundations.
The development came a few days ahead of a Republican effort to question whether a news organization with a reputation of being left-leaning should be allowed to receive public funding. NPR is financed through both public and private dollars, but most of its funding is private.
As calls to defund the outlet heated up, Issa pointed out the political bent of major NPR donor Soros.
"With NPR benefitting from the
generosity of people like MoveOn.org financier George Soros, it’s obvious that
NPR is now a self-sustaining entity that no longer needs to rely on federal
funds. As an independent entity, they will be free to serve Mr. Soros’s far-left agenda," said Issa, ranking member of the House Oversight Committee.
He also teased NPR's left-leaning reputation.
"Once NPR is free from the umbrella of accepting, receiving and being eligible for taxpayer dollars, maybe Soros can fully finance NPR’s fall schedule with spin-offs of some of America’s favorite shows such as, ‘Dancing with the Czars’ or ‘Socialist Survivor’ and ‘Lost: The Obama Presidency,’ " he said.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday that he is adding a measure to defund NPR to a program that allows the public to vote on spending programs they could live without.
The outlet fell under Republican scrutiny this week after firing analyst Juan Williams for remarks he made about people in Muslim attire. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee criticized NPR for being too politically correct and for cutting off free expression.
Williams had told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, "Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
NPR explained Williams's firing in a statement saying his comments were "inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR."