OPINION: NPR part of ruling 'elite,' should lose federal funding

NPR has again sparked cries for its defunding after the recent release of an undercover video of Ron Schiller, former president of NPR Foundation, saying there “just aren’t enough elites in this country” and calling the majority of Americans “uneducated” and “racist.” His unedited comments are indicative of the mentality of ruling elites who are threatened by the power of the Tea Party Patriots.

We’ve long known these feelings exist among the well-groomed, well-educated, self-important “elite” inside the government halls of power, but it’s not often we get to hear these sentiments expressed out loud and recorded for posterity. After all, these are sophisticated people, and they know that it’s not good politics to publicly heap scorn on the folks who pay your bills.


But over the last two years the curtain has slowly been pulled back, and these people have been exposed for what they are: egotistical, arrogant ruling elites who believe the rest of us are just too stupid or backward to “understand.” They view the rest of us as the “uneducated” masses who are here to be controlled or manipulated for their own gain. Having moved far from the ideals of the Founders, they believe that self-governance is impossible for the nation because most of us are just too dumb, uneducated and racist to handle it.

Schiller, then-president of a foundation that funds a large, allegedly politically neutral media outlet, is not alone in his elitist views. He is merely the most recent example of this phenomenon. Mr. Schiller joins a crowd of elites in his disdain for the people and the democratic processes of this great nation.  Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida famously said, “All this talk about rules … we make ‘em up as we go along.” Nancy Pelosi said, “We have to pass the bill, so you can find out what’s in it…” Trent Lott opined, “We don’t need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples. As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.” The arrogant elitism is not limited to the Democratic side of the political spectrum.

From the president to senators, from professors and economists to movie stars and professional musicians, we see a ruling elite who hold themselves out as better, smarter and specifically entitled to tell the rest of us what to do. And when we differ from them in our opinions, they are derogatory, condescending and sometimes downright abusive.

According to Professor Angelo Codevilla, professor emeritus of International Relations at Boston University, “The ruling class’s appetite for deference, power, and perks grows… The ruling class wears on its sleeve the view that the rest of Americans are racist, greedy, and above all stupid... The rulers want the ruled to shut up and obey... The ruled want self-governance."

Ron Schiller saved a special vitriol and hatred for his fellow citizens participating in the Tea Party movement. Calling us “xenophobic,” “racist” and “uneducated” and accusing us of Islamophobia, he seemed genuinely repulsed. This rhetoric is coming from the former president of the NPR Foundation, and the organization’s former senior vice president of development. Schiller is in a position of enormous responsibility at a radio network that supposedly fairly reports on the news of the day, utilizing taxpayer dollars to do so. After what we saw in the case of Juan Williams (now a columnist for The Hill), and now in Mr. Schiller’s unedited rant, are we supposed to believe NPR’s reporting and editorial approach are fair and balanced? 

At a time when the country is upside down by more than a trillion dollars, can we really afford to provide huge subsidies to entities that are willing to openly state they don’t need the money?  

The time is long past for Congress to revoke all funding of NPR. This is a given. Mr. Schiller openly admitted NPR doesn’t really need federal funding and says, generally, that they would have an easier time editorially slanting their reporting without it.

While the defunding of NPR is a given at this point, there is also a broader discussion that must be had.  How long will we as a nation be willing to tolerate the arrogance of the self-appointed ruling elite? We believe the era of the ruling elite in Washington, D.C., and state capitols is at an end. We are now witnessing their bizarre and irrational behavior as they deny their inevitable decline. 
This is the second American Revolution, and the citizens have begun to retake the country from the ruling elite.  
Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin are co-founders of the Tea Party Patriots, a national grassroots organization with more than 3,000 voluntarily affiliated local groups around the country.