National Public Radio media enterprise is so essential, according to backers, that it requires government support. But, as its supporters always point out, in an amount equal to merely 2 percent of the NPR budget. Which leads one to ask if the outfit couldn't find a way to spend two percent less or raise the money in one of those marathon pledge drives it holds every two or three weeks. The government, after all, is tapped out.

NPR is, instead, hiring a lobbying firm to lean on Congress. The firm's mission will be to "explain how the federal investment in public radio stations and larger public broadcasting system provides one of the most effective returns of any program authorized by Congress."

One suspects that the people at NPR consider the subsidy a kind of public blessing, an affirmation that it is involved in a higher kind of broadcasting than that which is done by the crass commercial outfits that take advertising – as opposed to "underwriting." That the federal money amounts to some kind of status marker.

Which makes Senator Rubio's heretical statement on one of NPR's signature programs all the more appealing.

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