Ideas for a revamped NPR

NPR’s Robert Siegel is interviewing Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Muslim cleric out to destroy America by building a mosque in downtown New York. Rather than reach across the table to strangle the Islamic extremist, Siegel is asking him a question.

“Was your choice to build your Islamic cultural center so close to Ground Zero designed to make a statement about religious freedom in America, or was it simply due to the propinquity of the Manhattan real estate market?” Siegel asks.

It’s just this type of attitude, and this type of vocabulary, that has all right-thinking Americans up in arms about federal funding for National Public Radio and its blatantly liberal bias. “Propinquity?” What kind of word is that? We’re proud to say that most people’s common-man, everyday speech patterns barely recognize the words “National,” “Public” and “Radio,” much less a word like “propinquity”.

Presuming that the listening public knows big words with a “q” in the middle of them is a large part of what has brought on the initiative in the Republican-controlled House to cut funding to NPR. An educated citizenry may well be the key to maintaining our democratic ideals, but that’s only true in the civics textbooks we’re currently in the process of banning from our public schools.

America can easily get by on several hundred words to engage in the political debate needed at this turning point in our nation’s history. Our Founding Fathers were perfectly comfortable using terms like “cat” and “Sally” and “Spot” to frame our constitutional principles, and we should be equally at ease using simple words in our public discourse today.

Proponents of public radio continue to claim that they present the news of the day in a straightforward manner, tilting neither right nor left. Then how come they have correspondents with names like Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, Ira Flatow and Lakshmi Singh? If they hired the occasional Bob Smith or Mary Jones, maybe they wouldn’t be facing the opposition they’re currently seeing.

Rather than slash funding completely and obliterate this elitist stream of progressive thought from the public airways, some have suggested reform may be the best solution.

“There may be a need for public radio. I guess somebody has to be there to broadcast the occasional farm report,” said Fox News vice president of communications Allen Cutter. “As an executive for a communications company that actually makes money, I might offer some suggestions on changes in programming that could lessen the leftist impact.”

Cutter said many current shows could be slightly re-branded in a way that would put them more in line with the opinions of conservative Americans.

“Why must it be ‘All Things Considered’?” Cutter asked. “Why can’t it be ‘Some Things Considered’? There’s a lot going on in the world today that’s not really worthy of our consideration. If we ignore foreign cultures and strange ideas, studies have shown that these tend to go away.”

Cutter also proposed other changes to some of the more popular shows on public radio. He suggests turning “Morning Edition” into “Morning Sedition,” and making it a time slot where anti-government fanatics can vent their rage against the federal system. He’d like to see the popular Saturday afternoon cooking show “Splendid Table” turned into “Splendid Cable,” and make it an outlet for those wanting to praise the efforts of networks such as Fox. The Friday feature of “Talk of the Nation” known as “Science Friday” could be moved earlier in the week and renamed “Voodoo Tuesday,” with guests discussing creationism, conspiracy theories and their experiences with alien probes.

“There’s at least one show I’d leave just like it is, though,” Cutter said. “I think ‘Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me’ accurately sums up our intellectual outlook, and should remain on the schedule. Besides, that Carl Kasell is an absolute hoot.”

Cutter had one more change in mind he’d make for a newly revamped NPR.

“We’d need to move its location from the far left end of the radio dial to well right of center,” he suggested. “Those lower-numbered channels could be returned to the Soviets, where they belong.”

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