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GOP Threatens to Cut Bert and Ernie’s Social Security, Again

Here they come again. Watch out, Bert and Ernie.

Seizing the occasion of NPR firing Juan — but I’m so perfect to fill that slot on Fox All Stars — Williams, the entire Republican Wurlitzer is calling on Congress to defund the evil NPR, and while they’re at it, why not just take out the last vestiges of public funding for public radio and television, the perceived bastion of liberal –by which they mean rational, non-Christian– journalism.

And don’t think they won’t get another scalp, because they usually do. Despite persistent public support for public funding, the GOP shills for private control of the public sector have been steadily chipping away at the whole concept that news, analysis and investigative journalism, drama, the arts and so on need to be relatively free of large corporate control. There is no other way things like Frontline or Bill Moyers Journal could exist. No wonder the leader of corporate propaganda and spin domination, Fox News, is leading the charge.

We’ve been losing this battle a little at a time, and during the Bush years, corporate interests severely compromised the independence and integrity of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It took years of protests by heroes like Bill Moyers to claw back only a part of what we lost. When Bush CPB appointee Ken Tomlinson charged NPR and PBS with "liberal bias, Bill Moyers shot back, "we were getting it right, not right wing."

Today, PBS News Hour is now mostly privately funded, with major sponsors now the mega corps that deny climate change or help launder millions in secret campaing contributions through the ultraconservative US Chamber of Commerce. It takes a lot of money to buy an election, and they’ve got it.

So even though the wing nuts will likely lose public opinion if parents think Sesame Street is threatened, it’s not Bert and Ernie they’re after, nor do they care one fig about the hapless Juan Williams. He’s just their convenient dupe and foolish and greedy enough to allow himself to be played.

Jim DeMint and his Fox Friends see this as another opportunity to undermine the chances that any views outside the control of their corporate sponsors or unaffected by their alternative view of reality can get a credible hearing. But that won’t stop them from lecturing the rest of us on the sanctity of free speech. There are no rules.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley