Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why I Donated to Houston NPR

"I can't believe we have reached a point in this country where we are not allowed to express how we feel", ABC News President David Weston said to Juan Williams after he was very publicly fired from his gig with NPR. It was one year ago this week that Williams voiced his opinion about traveling with those dressed as Muslims on airplanes and was fired for those remarks.

"They want me to shut up and I will not", he said during a question and answer session during the Texas Book Festival. His book "Muzzled" was highlighted and he was interviewed by Glenn Frankel, Director of the University of Texas School of Journalism. Notoriously liberal, Frankel tried mightily to get Williams to bash Fox News Channel and Williams refused to do so. Frankel is the out of touch stereotype of liberals from days past.

I didn't realize it has been a year since the drama between Williams and the bureaucrats at NPR resulted in his dismissal. It was a bit of irony for me as I donated to our local NPR station here in Houston earlier that day.

Yes, this Republican donated to NPR.

NPR in Houston is the oldest such station in the country. Surprised? It's true. The NPR station in Houston went on air in 1950 broadcast from the University of Houston campus with student volunteers. It still operates from there and also now includes another station which broadcasts classical music. KUHF does not take money from University of Houston or from the State of Texas.

I listen to KUHF while I drive in the car. Like most women busy running a home and organizing a family, plus having a life of my own, I'm in the car a lot. I turn on KUHF because it keeps me informed, entertained and thinking. Yes, it irritates me to no end at times with the liberal guest line-up and no pretense of fair and balanced coverage on any issue. But, I know what to expect.

I was trained in political science in my college years. It was my course of study. There was always political discussion during my time living at home. I don't remember ever not being interested in politics. All of this shaped my desire to hear all sides and to keep current on what the other side is up to, so to speak.

If you do not know what the other side is saying, how will you be able to debate or persuade the other side to come to the conservative side?

I do not support the national organization of NPR. It is fine by me if all federal funding was stopped for them. They are clearly not out for anything but the agenda of far left progressive politics. There is no support for freedom of speech if that speech isn't exactly from their own talking points. The ugly side of progressive politics and broadcasting was laid bare in the Williams incident.

My local station brings the popular programs - Fresh Air, All Things Considered, Engines of our Ingenuity (with U of Houston's own John Leinhart), and my new favorite - BBC's World Have Your Say. And I love the Saturday morning game show Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.

There are stories told on This American Life that bring me to tears. They are so well done.

So, after many years of not donating, I went online and donated this year. Since I do use it every day I felt that that it is only fair. No federal funds, private funds. I believe public radio - and public television, for that matter - can be privately sustained and thrive. Plus, I believe there is a need and market for both.

For my donation, I skipped another coffee mug or tote bag and went with supporting the partnering up with Trees for Houston. My donation will be marked for watering and caring for trees that have been so badly affected by our very long draught.

It's a good thing.

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