NPR accuses Republican lawmaker of trying to control public radio stations

NPR pushed back on Tuesday against a Republican lawmaker who is trying to cut off federal funding for public broadcasting, accusing him of trying to interfere with how the nation's local public radio stations report the news.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) re-introduced two bills last week that would cut off federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Lamborn, who introduced the same bills in the last Congress, called NPR's programming "a luxury we cannot afford to subsidize."

"Congressman Lamborn’s legislation is an intrusion into the programming decision-making of America’s public radio stations," said NPR in an e-mailed response. "His legislation will disrupt and weaken the free and universal public media system that serves 170 million Americans each month."

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NPR also called the goal of Lamborn's legislation misguided and said it would insert the federal government into the news decisions of local stations, which are primarily staffed locally and cover the news relevant to their communities.

"It seems ironic that Congressman Lamborn who seeks to withdraw federal support for public radio wants federal legislators in turn to assert control over how local public radio stations can make use of programming funds," NPR added.

"This legislation would ultimately dictate the daily editorial schedules and news programs of nearly one thousand public radio stations across America."

Lamborn has said he enjoys much of NPR's programming but views it as "completely unnecessary in a world of 500-channel cable TV and cell phone internet access." He also pointed to the 26 percent increase in CPB funding over the past decade, to a total of $430 million annually.