Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rep. Blackburn Against Free Speech

Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn led Congress last week to strip the constitutional right of free speech from one single news organization claiming it was for fiscal savings - but her opening remarks on the bill make it clear:

"I rise in strong support of HR1076, a bill to get the federal government and federal taxpayers out of the business of buying radio programs they do not agree with."

Certainly, some taxpayers and some in federal government do not agree with what they hear on NPR. Some, however, do agree. Most importantly, as noted at Poynter.org:

My concern is that the federal government would grant money to local public radio stations — supposedly in the public interest — and then make a law abridging the right of those stations to air certain content.

... every day at work when I walk into the Poynter Institute (I can see) a large marble plaque that contains the words of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Here they are:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

There, in one sentence, our five most precious freedoms are protected. The two words that stand out to me in today’s reading are: “no law.”

As for the sudden emergency need to slash spending - a whole one-ten-thousandth of one percent for NPR - Rep. Blackburn felt much differently last fall when she gave bonuses to her own congressional staff. Just the cost of salaries alone for her office were:

Total salaries for Blackburn's staff in 2010 were $1,077,251 compared with $1,044,681 in 2009, according to LegiStorm."
In total:

U.S. House members from Tennessee saw their legislative staff budgets increase in 2010 through fourth-quarter bonuses, part of a trend in which the nation's returning members paid $19 million more for their staffs last year than in 2009." $19 million is more than 3 times the amount ($5 million) being defunded for NPR.

Thanks for no savings, Rep. Blackburn, and thanks for opposing free speech.

1 comment:

  1. Where's her proposal to cut funding for the Broadcast Board of Governors, which operates Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Voice of America, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, etc. gets nearly $800 million in federal funding to broadcast CIA propaganda around the world?

    I guess she's for free public radio in Iran but not in America.