Two ranking Republican congressional leaders are pushing the Government Accountability Office to review the funding of National Public Radio. The request comes in the wake of NPR’s firing of commentator Juan Williams, which raised a lot of eyebrows in media and political circles.
In a letter to the GAO dated Thursday (Nov. 18), U.S. Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Michael Burgess (R-Texas), ranking member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, requested that the GAO examine whether NPR is using or has used any federal funds for the creation of editorial. NPR fired Juan Williams in late October for remarks he made on Fox News Channel during The O’Reilly Factor.
“We do not mean to suggest that government should be involved in the editorial decisions of NPR or any other provider of content. Our concern is that the use of appropriated taxpayer dollars for the production of content could inappropriately involve the government in the promulgation of particular viewpoints and the silencing of others, especially since many taxpayers may not share the editorial views of NPR,” the Republican duo wrote.
Earlier this month, the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a bipartisan committee, issued draft recommendations that included eliminating all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the organization that provides funds to PBS, NPR and hundreds of local stations.