First, note that Williams throws in the phrase “skewing the editorial content of their programming” rather breezily. He then preemptively takes issue with NPR’s indignation whenever someone accuses them of doing them just that. Well, NPR needn’t raise itself to the level of indignation here, because Williams doesn’t say anything to support his charge of skewed coverage. He just says that it’s there and moves on. In fact, nowhere in his 900-word piece does Williams pinpoint an instance of skewed editorial content. Instead, like O’Keefe, he keeps his attacks leveled at the organization’s executives and fundraisers while presenting zero evidence that the personal views they might hold affect the material that makes it to air. The piece is a string of featherweight assertions.
Second, Williams never mentions that the controversial and incriminating video that resulted in Vivian Schiller’s resignation was misleadingly edited—something to which you would think he would at least give a nod. Particularly given that the first website to point out the suspicious editing, The Blaze, was founded by one of the folks Williams seems to be defending against Israel’s attack: rodeo clown Glenn Beck.
Of course, there is always room for some Euro-bashing in a column like this, and Williams dutifully raises the specter of the dreaded tax-funded BBC as he draws to a close.
Before NPR top executive Vivian Schiller resigned, her goal for NPR was to increase federal support to create an American version of the British Broadcasting Corporation [BBC]. The BBC, which also began as a radio news service, is funded by a mandatory licensing fee paid by all British subjects. It is essentially a tax set by Parliament every year to support a national news operation.
Again, the problem is with omissions. Vivian Schiller never wanted to recreate the BBC’s business model in the U.S. She did believe in the idea of increased public funding, but knew that the BBC method was not a possibility. Pre-ousting, Schiller wrote in Design Mind (our emphasis): “ I’ve come around to believing pubic funding is an essential and long-standing tradition in this country, even without BBC-style taxes on TV sets—and should be increased.”
Another key omission in this little argumentative detour to the socialist U.K.: those balmy Brits apparently believe their beloved BBC is worth the taxes that they pay for it. A Guardian/IMC poll conducted in 2009 found that 63 percent of Brits think the BBC provides good value for money; and a whopping 77 percent think the BBC is an institution that people should be proud of.
Sounds like something we should all be very afraid of.