Money laundering most often refers to attempts to hide the criminal source of money. But it can also be used to describe making legal money transfers between parties deliberately so opaque that the real sources and uses of funds are almost impossible to discern — which describes much of the funding for NPR.

National Public Radio has been beset by a seemingly endless series of scandals — financial, program, personnel, etc., since it was founded by Congress back in 1970. The most recent scandal bubbled up last week, when a senior longtime NPR editor wrote a 3,500-word essay describing the bias and hatred of former President Donald Trump at NPR, causing the network to lose listeners’ trust. He was then suspended for five days by NPR’s new CEO, who was then revealed to have viciously disparaged Mr. Trump while helping and contributing to President Biden. The editor, Uri Berliner, subsequently resigned. NPR, being heavily taxpayer-financed, is supposed to be politically neutral but instead has repeatedly violated its taxpayer trust — and thus should be defunded.

NPR claims that direct federal funding accounts for less than 1% of its revenue. But it has received considerable funding from state and local governments in the form of grants, and from fees from local stations for content. The local stations receive major funding from grants provided by the taxpayer-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting, much of which is used for fees and licenses to support NPR. In addition, NPR also receives funding from university licenses and donations. Given that universities receive considerable funding from taxpayers, it is fair to assume that much of NPR’s university license and donation money also originates with taxpayers.

NPR also received tax-deductible contributions from individuals, foundations, and tax-deductible license fees and sponsorships from corporations (including foreign corporations). So, the open question is how much of its funding NPR receives directly or indirectly from nonvoluntary payments from taxpayers. It would take a team of forensic accountants to unravel this giant money laundering operation.

As is widely acknowledged, NPR frames issues from a predominantly leftist perspective. NPR‘s selection of topics, sources and language often reflects a left-leaning worldview, leading to a skew in its reporting. For instance, critics point to the frequency with which NPR features so-called progressive voices and perspectives, while conservative viewpoints are comparatively underrepresented. This imbalance can create an echo chamber effect, reinforcing the beliefs of Democratic listeners while marginalizing dissenting opinions.

Furthermore, NPR‘s coverage of certain contentious issues, such as climate change, immigration and “social justice,” tends to favor the narratives of the Democratic Party. While these topics warrant attention, NPR‘s approach to covering them often lacks the nuance and diversity of viewpoints necessary for balanced journalism. By predominantly presenting one side of the argument, NPR alienates conservative listeners — who are roughly half the voters and taxpayers — perpetuating polarization in society. NPR‘s reporting on conservative politicians and policies is often more critical and scrutinizing compared with its coverage of left-leaning counterparts. This disparity in treatment fosters perceptions of unfairness and partisanship among conservative audiences, undermining NPR‘s stated goal as a neutral arbiter of news.

NPR‘s funding model likely influences its content. NPR caters to its government funders and supporters, potentially influencing its coverage to align with certain political agendas. In addition, corporate sponsorships may also shape NPR‘s reporting, as companies may seek favorable coverage or avoid divisive topics that could jeopardize their support. Through his foundation, billionaire George Soros has been a major contributor. Mr. Soros makes no secret of his radical left agenda, supporting such things as “defund the police” initiatives, open borders, and hostility to Israel. The question is, did Mr. Soros fund NPR because of its agenda, or did NPR alter its agenda in order to attract support from Mr. Soros and others of his ilk?

NPR has repeatedly been accused of demonstrating bias against Israel. The pro-Israel Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America argues that NPR is the most anti-Israel mainstream news outlet in the United States.

It is no surprise that NPR‘s audience demographics skew toward left-leaning individuals. Studies have shown that NPR listeners are more likely to identify as Democrats than the general population. NPR‘s choice of language can subtly influence audience perceptions, framing issues in a way that aligns with liberal ideology.

NPR has spent substantial taxpayer funds to lobby Congress. One despicable practice that is accepted in Washington involves taxpayer-funded organizations spending money to lobby for more taxpayer funding, particularly when a majority of taxpayers likely disagree.

There are more than 15,000 radio stations in the U.S. providing almost every conceivable format and type of programming and political point of view. Why then should taxpayers be forced to support NPR and its “public” radio station network? If NPR were abolished, the popular programs it produces would not go away. The beauty of the capitalist system is if there is a market for a particular product, including a radio show, some entrepreneur will provide it.

Only those peddling shows and ideas that few would support need to coerce money from taxpayers.

The way to stop NPR’s taxpayer rape and misinformation machine is to prohibit its affiliates from providing any taxpayer funding for it. Local stations could still produce and broadcast whatever their market would support, without being part of a national money laundering scheme.

• Richard W. Rahn is chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth and MCon LLC.

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