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  • NPR Hosting Celebs at Washington Dinner Party

    The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is an annual celebration of the news media by the news media. This year’s dinner, scheduled for Saturday night, will feature President Obama as well as Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers.

    Among the many news outlets participating in this year’s dinner will be NPR, the tax-subsidized news organization which has come under heavy criticism over the past year from scandal after scandal.

    Doug Heye of US News & World Report has the story:

    “… As Washington prepares to celebrate, well, itself at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where media organizations try to out-do each other by planting celebrities at their $2,500 tables, taxpayer-subsidized and donor-supported NPR is no exception. Joining NPR staff will be Ambassador Susan Rice as well as three All Songs Considered favorites, Annie Clark, who records under the nom de plume St. Vincent, Talking Heads founder David Byrne, and R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe.

    Which raises the question: In a time when, NPR’s budget is under scrutiny, is hosting rock stars at a swank dinner the sign NPR officials want to send? And, is promoting new recordings of musical artists–be they starving or sated–something the government should even subsidize in the first place?”

    If NPR has the cash to participate in glitzy Washington events, perhaps it’s time for Congress to test former NPR VP Ron Schiller’s prediction that “in the long run [NPR] would be better off without federal funding.”

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to NPR Hosting Celebs at Washington Dinner Party

    1. Dana Davis Rehm says:

      Dear Brandon,

      It is unfortunate that you published this inaccurate "story," and that you did not call us to check out the facts first.

      NPR's tables at the dinner were underwritten – entirely – by a donor. Our guests are coming at their own expense.

      Here is the text of our letter to the editor posted this afternoon at US News & World Report.

      Dana Rehm


      NPR Letter to Editor, US News and World Report

      The entire premise of [Doug Heye's blog post, "Tax Payer Funded NPR Brings Rock Stars to Swanky Washington Party"] is simply misinformed.

      Our guests are paying their own way. And our tables were made possible by a generous donor to NPR who felt it was important for NPR to have a visible presence at this major event.

      NPR is also not “tax-payer funded,” despite the rhetoric and misinformation perpetuated by some.

      First, NPR receives no direct appropriation from the federal government. Less than 2 percent of our annual operating budget (approximately $2 million in a budget of $160 million) comes from competitive grants sought from federally-funded organizations, such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. Those grant funds aren’t appropriated to NPR by Congress, nor are they used to support NPR’s general operations. NPR must apply and compete for the grants, and use the funds only for the specific project covered by each grant.

      Federal funding from the CPB goes directly to local stations to serve local communities, NOT to NPR. Stations on average receive approximately 10 percent of their budgets from grants from the CPB.

      When Heye writes that he’s “seen little from NPR” in the past few months, he must have missed the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, the tsunami in Japan, the one year anniversary of the deadly explosion at Upper Big Branch mine, the battle for soldiers with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder to get adequate treatment—and the countless other events and stories NPR alone manages to extensively cover day in and day out. It’s this work that was recognized for several Peabody Awards earlier this month. And that a growing audience of 27 million tunes to each week.

      Anna Christopher

      Director, Media Relations, NPR

    2. Bobbie says:

      Sounds like the 'long run' is now! $2500 dollars? STOP THIEVING TAX DOLLARS, needless beggars of the democrat pity party! NPR DESPOTS!

    3. Pingback: NPR Hosting Celebs at Washington Dinner Party | The Foundry » i1 Hosting

    4. James, Maine says:

      As we know, NPR is biased. Its firing of Juan Williams, and relationship with George Sorros is proof of the pudding. Unfortunately, the current landscape in Washington lends favorably toward NPR. Hopefully after the 2012 election the landscape will right itself, and NPR will see a pruning of their tree.

    5. Stirling, Pennsylvan says:

      It doesn't how much NPR spins the Funding answer, they will forever be labeled as liberal-left-progressive taxpayer subsidized enity. Since NPR now has the George Soros "Suggar Daddy" funding why not just cut the entire cord and be done with the issue entirely. As a taxpayer it's offending to me to know that any of my money is going to NPR period.

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