On Friday, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., introduced legislation to keep pace with the Republican House and zero out funds for NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That attention got more attention yesterday, for obvious reasons. The resignation of NPR's CEO Vivian Schiller -- who had defended the firing of Juan Williams and kicked off this wave of attacks on public broadcasting -- has not mollified the senators. DeMint says in a statement:
The issue about taxpayers funding public broadcasting isn't about who gets hired or fired, it's about two simple facts: we can't afford it and they don't need it. We're facing a $1.5 trillion deficit and spending hundreds of millions on public broadcasting makes no sense today when they are raising millions from private donors and Americans already have thousands of media choices.
Again, this debate got restarted by the Williams firing, which may go down in history as the stupidest personnel decision since the Harry Frazee said "You know who we should sell? Babe Ruth." But the debate, on the conservative end, hasn't changed in years -- they want an end to taxpayer funding for public TV and radio, and most think it will survive and thrive without it.