I actually hadn't thought of NPR or PBS so clearly before, as a parallel to the old Soviet nationalized newspaper Pravda, but that is exactly what NPR (especially) is.
Today, David Boaz of the Cato Institute made the sort of arguments that I never quite so clearly enunciated myself. From Boaz's statement, as found on the Cato website:
We wouldn't want the federal government to publish a national newspaper. Neither should we have a government television network and a government radio network. If anything should be kept separate from government and politics, it's the news and public affairs programming that informs Americans about government and its policies. When government brings us the news -- with all the inevitable bias and spin -- the government is putting its thumb on the scales of democracy. Journalists should not work for the government. Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize news and public-affairs programming.
I had always marveled at the left's embrace of NPR. Sure, NPR espouses their viewpoint, but apart from content, it really is the most repugnant sort of news source, the sort that the left should stand against- in opposition to the Official Truth, and in favor of genuine, independent journalism.
What is also fascinating is his report on the demographics NPR and PBS reach out to: wealthy, white, and suburban.
One dirty little secret that NPR and PBS don't like to acknowledge in public debate is the wealth of their listeners and viewers. But they're happy to tell their advertisers about the affluent audience they're reaching. In 1999 NPR commissioned Mediamark Research to study its listeners. NPR then enthusiastically told advertisers that its listeners are 66 percent wealthier than the average American, three times as likely to be college graduates, and 150 percent more likely to be professionals or managers.