I have a love-hate relationship with North Carolina Public Radio (WUNC-FM) these days. On one hand, I consider them among the best sources of news here in the Triangle. And on the other hand, I consider them squarely in the pack of mainstream media lapdogs. So now that the station has started its annual on-air fundraising drive, I'm again torn about what to do.
Over the years, my wife and I have given a great deal of money to support WUNC. I helped create their capital campaign more than ten years ago to pay for new facilities and equipment. We also held a fundraiser at our house to help the station attract Dick Gordon from Boston.
And while the station does have some interesting coverage of North Carolina (The State of Things), their national news is pretty much the same old same old as everyone else delivers - softball bullshit from insiders who are complicit in the disastrous reign of King George. Cokie Roberts, in particular, is an embarrassing apologist for the Bush administration, despite rumors she's a Democrat. Her regular appearance on public radio has caused me to reset the station preferences in my truck on more than one occasion.
The truth is, it's the BBC that delivers the most objective and hard-hitting news that public radio in the United States has to offer. And just how ironic is that?
All that said, I'll be declining to contribute this year. After intense blogging and scrutinizing the performance of the mainstream media over the past 12 months, it's hard to make the case to support public radio just because it doesn't suck as much as its commercial counterparts.
I'll be using this same standard when it comes to contributing to candidates this fall and next year, too. There's no money for lapdogs in my budget.
PS I don't speak for my better half, of course. She's a perennial contributor to WUNC and doesn't share my cynicism about the station (or anything else for that matter).
Logo from the WUNC-FM website