Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
Sen. Jim DeMint, the conservative and increasingly powerful Republican senator from South Carolina, introduced a bill Friday to strip federal funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in the wake of National Public Radio's decision to fire Juan Williams for comments about Muslims that he made on Fox News earlier this week.
During a panel about Muslims and terrorism on "The O'Reilly Factor," Williams said he sometimes is afraid boarding an airplane if he sees a person in "Muslim garb." He went on to say that stereotyping all Muslims is wrong.
After an NPR vice president told Williams he would be fired if he did not stop appearing on Fox News, Williams was terminated. He later defended his remarks as truthful and said that NPR is hostage to narrow thinking.
"This is evidence of one-party rule and one-sided thinking at NPR that leads to enforced ideology, speech and writing," Williams wrote on FoxNews.com. "It leads to people, especially journalists, being sent to the gulag for raising the wrong questions and displaying independence of thought."
NPR does not receive direct federal funding for its operations, but it does benefit from allocations for programming from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the quasi-governmental agency that receives a federal appropriation from Congress -- $430 million in 2010. In addition to direct outlays for programming, the CPB also allocates funds to public radio and television stations, which then send significant programming dues to NPR and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
O'Reilly announced that DeMint will introduce the legislation Friday.
In addition to attacking NPR's funding source, DeMint has been on an earmark tear recently and will force a vote during the lame duck session of Congress to ban all earmarks for the next year.
"I believe this will pass, and Republicans will be unified against the wasteful and corrupt earmark system," he told the Washington Times last month.