The New York Times asked Ira Stone which author, living or dead he’d like to meet, and what question he would ask. He replied “Edgar Allen Poe. I don’t have a question, but dude just seems like he could use a hug.”
This is why I adore public radio.
I’m an NPR junkie. I love Diane Rehm, Terry Gross and Peter Sagal. I love the way Sylvia Poggioli says her name and did you know Ari Shapiro sings like nobody’s business? He is also a snappy dresser. Of course, that last part I didn’t learn on the radio, I saw him at a Pink Martini concert, but you get the point.
After Mitt dissed Big Bird, there’s been a lot of debate about whether the government should support Public Media and the arts. I won’t hash that out here. But in this week of public radio fundraising, this is my love letter to NPR, and why I’m a continuing member.
I won’t say NPR is unbiased in the topics it chooses to cover, but at least it’s factual in presenting those topics that it does. They put real numbers on the table. Their guests are the real deal and they make me think about my own biases and question my assumptions.
They provide a forum for civil discourse where opposing viewpoints get airtime and consideration. As much as conservatives dislike NPR, it actually has a greater likelihood to shift my thinking on issues than Fox News or MSNBC. I actually listen because sometimes I don’t like what I hear, but it’s what I need to know and it comes from a source that I believe values honesty.
I won’t hear about the latest grisly murder, or car crash, or celebrity scandal. I’ll hear about important events outside of the U.S. I’ll hear about books that aren’t on the NYT bestseller list, and hear interviews with authors who are. I love them for giving the world David Sedaris. I like to think of David Sedaris and Jane Austen as my spiritual parents.
Quieting voices of dissent is never a good strategy. Conservatives would be far wiser in using public media to get their message across. Talk about reaching a target audience. If you want to change minds, it’s good to talk to people who hold the opposing viewpoint. But I digress — the bottom line is money. Although public media is a drop in the budget bucket, it’s fair game.
So my point is simple. If you love public radio/public television, sign the petitions, send letters to your representatives, March with the Muppets if you choose. But before you do, make a donation. It doesn’t have to be a lot. If you want to keep public media rolling, put your money where your mouth is. Even if you can only give a couple of dollars a month, it’s worth it. It’s like saving Tinkerbell. If we all clap our hands, she’ll hear us.
I believe, Tink. I believe.
Words J. B. Everett