Vivian Schiller, the obnoxious Stalinist CEO of taxpayer-funded NPR who not only fired Juan Williams but felt the need to denounce him as psychiatrically unfit for committing a trivial thought crime, is among the statist apparatchiks pushing for a federal takeover of the news media:
Schiller, a former New York Times executive, is one of a few dozen power players working with the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and a leftist group called Free Press to “reinvent journalism.” That’s how the FTC describes it. The FCC calls what they are doing the “Future of Journalism.” Free Press, a think tank funded by leftist billionaire George Soros, among others, calls it “the new public media.”
It’s all the same thing, a plan to take over local news coverage from for-profit television, radio and print media, which Schiller and her friends claim is in danger of extinction. These “friends” get together regularly with the heads of the FCC and FTC to brainstorm the details in government and congressional meetings. These meetings include the leaders of all the country’s public broadcasting outlets, including PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and American Public Media.
They are beefing up their staffs in local news markets with herds of public news reporters to “take over” coverage as commercial media fails. Nationwide, this will cost $40 billion to $60 billion over a decade, they believe. Their plans, according to the FCC’s Future of Media report, are to raise this money by taxing for-profit news organizations — the ones whose reporting Schiller is supposedly trying to “save.” They want to charge “spectrum fees” of five percent of broadcast station revenues for use of the public spectrum and airwaves, which the government controls. They figure that could bring in $1.8 billion a year. A one percent tax on all electronic devices like cell phones, televisions and laptops could bring in billions more. So would a monthly fee on internet subscriptions.
While conservatives were busy arguing that NPR should be defunded in the wake of the Williams debacle, Schiller was putting the finishing touches on the national infrastructure NPR has launched to deliver this new government news product to cities across the nation. A decade ago, defunding NPR would have sufficed. To stop Schiller now, Republicans would have to defund PBS and CPB as well to have any hope of torpedoing her plans to build a nationwide news delivery system in the style of the BBC, but on steroids. Schiller imagines a national public print, television and radio news leviathan that would compete with the top five news companies in the news industry.
As with the “government option” in healthcare, competing with the private sector while strangling it with regulations and leaching it dry with taxes is only a step toward the ultimate objective of all liberal initiatives: Stalin-style totalitarian collectivism.
This fits in smoothly not only with the liberal ideology so rigidly espoused on NPR, but with its business model. Air America proved that left-wing bilge cannot compete in the free market, because most Americans are too healthy to have a use for it when they have alternatives. Therefore, it must be funded coercively.
To anyone who doesn’t want to get with the program, let Juan Williams be an example of where even the slightest deviation from leftist orthodoxy gets you.