Sunday, April 01, 2018

Government news …

 It's 2018 and NPR Doesn't Know What Christians Commemorate on Easter | Faith.

come on, NPR. Christianity is the world's largest religion and Roman Catholicism is the biggest religious denomination on the planet. It's not as if we're all just some fringe group that is difficult to find out basic information about.


  1. And the federal government continues to fund NPR. Egads!

  2. Half a lifetime ago, when I was a cartoonist for my college newspaper and foolishly fancied myself subversive and brave, I drew a one-panel comic in which the risen Christ smiles with beatific amusement as he presents the Virgin Mary with a t-shirt reading "My Son went to Hell and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

    The editor-in-chief called me at home to let me know he wouldn't be running the cartoon. Condescendingly paying lip service to my "artistic freedom" and encouraging me to be "edgy," he hemmed and hawed about his rationale, finally suggesting that there had been too much debate about religion on the op-ed page in recent weeks, and things needed to calm down. But the more we spoke, the more I needled him with hypotheticals about other potentially "offensive" comics, the more I realized that he wasn't offended by my comic at all. He literally did not understand it.

    This fellow went on to be a reporter for the Philly Inquirer and the New York Times, earned graduate degrees in journalism, and now directs the journalism program at a major university. Let's hope he's grown a little less ignorant of major world religions...

    1. I think the cartoon was hilarious. I think Jesus and Mary would, too.

  3. So let me get this right, R.T. NPR made a mistake -- admittedly a very embarrassing one -- but then corrected it, for which you seem to suggest that the federal government defund them. So can we defund Trump i.e. his presidency for all the mistakes, exaggerations, and outright lies he's told (apparently none or at least very few of which he's corrected)?

  4. Lee, my argument is not political but fiscal. The federal government has spent trillions of dollars on things neither called for nor permitted by the constitution. I’m just concerned about the spending. So, I am not taking the bait of your argument.

  5. R.T., thanks for clarifying -- better late than never -- but the fiscal argument strikes me as something of a red herring. Clearly you were objecting to the substance of the piece i.e. that the NPR misunderstood and misrepresented the nature of Easter. There is certainly a discussion to be had about fiscal responsibility (balancing the budget, anyone?), but you are now claiming, or seeming to claim, that this is a constitutional matter. Of course, it's possible to address fiscal responsibility in terms of constitutional overreach, but it's only one aspect of the issue. Nor is every aspect of a political decision constitutional in nature.

    I am happy to advocate for fiscal responsibility. However, most if not all fiscal decisions by government are essentially political in nature: what do we want to spend our money on? And the federal government subsidy of NPR is ca. $450 million annually, which is so small in comparison to most other federal spending that it would be wise to look elsewhere first -- unless, of course, someone objects to NPR on other grounds. I simply don't believe that your interest here is primarily fiscal.

    And once we start on constitutional overreach, there are plenty of other places to go. Presidents throughout history have chafed at constitutional limits on their power, and tried to overstep them. We shall simply have to see just how far Trump goes.

  6. Just on a side note: there was apparently no constituency for responsible spending or reduction of the national debt in the 2016 election. Trump's campaign website focused on four or five huge issues; Hillary Clinton's website promised, among other things, a quick cure for Alzheimer's; and Bernie Sanders's materials touted lots of spending and such niche interests as Native American rights—but none of their platforms even mentioned our massive debt. As the Republican field narrowed, only Ted Cruz mentioned the debt in his materials, but it wasn't a prominent theme of his campaign. The number of voters, liberal or conservative, who actually want responsible government is dishearteningly small.

    (As for NPR, it's become so middlebrow and corporatized that I have no doubt it could easily survive and thrive without government support. Only around 15% of its funding comes from the government anyway.)