NPR has just done it again.
National Public Radio is, of course, famous for being funded in part by the federal government.
In the episode that was the disgraceful firing and treatment of Juan Williams, now a Fox commentator (whose new book Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate details the whole sordid affair) there were moves to cut off NPR’s government money, countered by the usual pleas from supporters (including the Obama White House) not to do so.
The NPR funding story took a new twist today thanks to Mitt Romney’s run-in with left-wing hecklers yesterday in Iowa.
Romney was campaigning yesterday in the run-up to last night’s debate. As seen here courtesy of Fox cameras, he was abruptly challenged by a small but noisy group of left-wing hecklers
In an unscripted move that reminded of Ronald Reagan’s dramatic “I paid for this microphone” moment in a 1980 New Hampshire debate, Romney declared he would refuse to raise taxes. This led to the following quick exchange:
Liberal Protestor: “Tax corporations!”
Romney: “Corporations are people, my friend.”
The governor then turned to the audience and asked if they wanted taxes raised, which was greeted with a loud chorus of boos.
Before the afternoon was out, NPR was jumping on Romney, running this story from reporter Frank James headlined:
Romney’s ‘Corporations Are People’ A Gift To Political Foes
The story said that Romney, whom all the world knows made his success in the business world:
gave his Democratic opponents an early Christmas gift by uttering those words. He just made their goal of pushing the narrative that he is a tool of corporate America much easier by providing them with that handy piece of video…. Liz Halloran of NPR was in the crowd at the state fair for Romney’s “corporations are people” line.
“Not his best moment,” she tells us.
The story also said:
These words could haunt him all the way to Election Day if he becomes the nominee. They could follow him the way President Obama’s line about rural folks clinging to their guns and religion tagged along behind the Democrat.
Well. So Mitt Romney is a “tool” of corporate America, is he?
On November 6, 2003, NPR accepted a grant of over $225 million from the estate of the late Joan Kroc. Kroc, of course, was famous as the wife of Ray Kroc — the founder of McDonald’s. Joan Kroc had no independent wealth of her own. History records that she met her future (and already married) husband when he walked into a bar where she was the piano player. They hit it off and the rest, as they might say, was history.
The point, of course, is that Joan Kroc’s ability to leave behind over $235 million for NPR is precisely because of the corporation formally known as McDonald’s Corporation. And sure enough, just as Mitt Romney said, McDonald’s turns out to be filled with people. Specifically:
• McDonald’s employs 1.7 million people with private sector jobs
• McDonald’s has 33,000 outlets in 118 countries where those 1.7 million people have those jobs
• McDonald’s, as described here by the company, provides health care for its employees.
So. What does this illustrate?
That quite aside from the issue of government funding, NPR itself exists as the result of corporate funding. Says NPR of how it gets its money:
NPR’s revenue comes primarily from fees paid by our member stations, contributions from corporate sponsors, institutional foundation grants, gifts from major donors, and fees paid by users of The Public Radio Satellite System.
And sources like foundations — the Ford Foundation, for example — got their money from the success of corporations. No Ford Motor Company — no money for Edsel Ford to set up the Ford Foundation.
Mitt Romney did well in that debate last night.
But in an unscripted moment yesterday afternoon he threw down a gauntlet to an American left whose ideas of statist job creation have failed utterly – with 25 million now unemployed precisely as Romney said.
NPR, literally on the air by its own admission because it takes corporate money, is now insisting corporations and the jobs they create will be an issue in this campaign.
Giving Romney and any other conservative out there a priceless opportunity to make Obamanomics the central issue of 2012.
If NPR has such a dim view of corporations, will they stop taking corporate money?