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NPR flaunts its wealth as MSM struggles
An understandable wave of envy is sweeping through the Beltway mainstream media, in the wake of NPR (formerly known as National Public Radio) showing off a spectacular new headquarters building in Washington, DC. NPR is spending big on creating a pleasant work environment while most other news media companies are cutting back and laying off. The controversy started last Tuesday, when NPR offered a media tour of its new facility. Austin Price of Media Bistro reports:
I have been visiting and sometimes working in broadcast facilities of all sorts and sizes for almost five decades, and this one is very impressive, at least when it comes to creature comforts. However, for sheer size, the state-owned broadcasters are in a league of their own. The NHK complex at Shibuya in Tokyo where I used to work in the early 70s employed thousands. I still vividly remember cast members from Samurai dramas in full costume and makeup in the building's employee canteen.
The billion dollar new headquarters of CCTV in Beijing also makes an imposing statement of sorts.
So NHK, with its comparatively modest 400,000 square feet and 800-some employees is a second tier player in the government-sponsored media world, albeit a plush one. High end and elite.
Paul Farhi writes in the Washington Post writes about the reaction, mostly from the conservative media and critics of public broadcasting (who also tend to be conservative, as if you need to be told):
That's a pretty fair point. A direct competitor in Washington, DC that doesn't rely on taxpayers can't afford anything remotely close. Price of Media Bistro describes some of the frills:
The Stamberg in question is Susan Stamberg, the co-host of the afternoon drive time show "All Things Considered," whose distinctive low and slightly mirthful voice is indelibly associated with the network by its older listeners, the kind who might leave endowments to their favorite audio companion. Perhaps another Joan Kroc, the widow of the founder of McDonald's, who left "more than 200 million dollars" to the organization, which she had enjoyed listening to for years. Coincidentally, the new palace is reckoned to have cost just a tad more than 200 mill itself. No doubt the Kroc bequest is invested, and the funds for the new structure came from elsewhere (see below), but since money is fungible, in the end it is almost fair to say that they blew the bequest on fancy new digs.
Price notes that Stamberg's voice is used to announce floors in the building's elevators. If nothing else, this illustrates the level of slightly self-obsessed care that went into the palace.
Farhi quotes Michael Savage, who is willing to voice thoughts that many MSM journalists must also share:
Nobody is asking the staffers of the Washington bureaus of newspapers or the broadcast news networks how they feel, but they have to be having similar reactions. The meida are living under tremendous stress and would love to have the government looking after them the way it does for NPR, directly, and more importantly, indirectly through "tax expenditures."
NPR financed the building this way:
So the company (NPR is a corporation) blackmailed a city with a black majority into a $40 million subsidy, virtually snatching textbooks from the hands of urban children. Sure they could have moved to the burbs, but that wouldn't be nearly as exciting as being right in the heart of things, in the nation's capital. Did the DC taxpayers get hosed? But of course nobody can call NPR the r-word because they are liberal and diverse.
Tax free bonds are another example of what Democrats like to call a "tax expenditure." And of course, the charitable donations from people like Mrs. Kroc are also "tax expenditures." So all in all, there's a whole lot of taxpayers' money going into the NPR Palace of Broadcasting.
The lesson to MSM journalists is obvious: the way to a happy life comes with government support.
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