Media Check: Taxpayer-funded NPR affiliate broadcasts hour-long parade of liberals bashing DeSantis on education

by | Jan 29, 2023

I don’t always listen to NPR (or its local affiliate stations), but when I do, it’s because someone said it might be interesting to me. Not because of the content, of course, but because they know I’m always interested in exposing the liberal media machine, especially when the “news” is paid for by our tax dollars. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is slated to receive over $1 billion from Congress over the next two years.

This week’s topic: How “DeSantis’ ‘war on woke’ faces pushback;” and “Teachers face felony charges over classroom libraries

We could spend hours exposing the dishonest presentation of the subject matter that aired across Florida on NPR affiliate stations this week. The program in question, The Florida Roundup, focused in part on the Florida Department of Education’s objection to an Advanced Placement (AP) pilot program about African American history that included a number of highly controversial modules that the state says are less about African American history and more about ideological indoctrination in the classroom.

But there’s plenty to talk about long before we ever get to the actual content of the program, starting with the show’s producer, Brendan Rivers, who has logged several tours of duty at left-wing “environmental justice” media organizations funded by all the usual suspects in the left-wing non-profit constellation. Rivers’ is also a fellow of Climate Matters in the Newsroom, a low-key activist group with a mission to push climate change narratives into newsrooms across the United States. In short, he’s been steeped in the progressive mindset long enough that he’s a trusted member of the club.

Then there are the program’s hosts, Matthew Peddie and Melissa Ross, with their public radio trademark, slow-talk style, offering only token representation of the substantive arguments advanced by the DeSantis Administration and Republican officials, while allowing their assembled liberal guests to tear those arguments apart like a pack of wild dogs.

The program kicked off with loaded language from famed attorney Ben Crump and one of his potential clients in a threatened potential lawsuit against the DeSantis Administration and the State Board of Education, which ate up a few minutes of airtime, but NPR’s hosts quickly moved to their assembled guests. Keep in mind that all of them represent the same ideological spectrum on the show: mostly liberal activist politicians and liberal activist journalists who are funded by liberal activist third party groups.

Not a single person represented the other side. Peddie does mention at one point that the Florida Department of Education “didn’t make a spokesperson available to talk with us,” but that’s just an excuse for why things were so one-sided. I’m willing to wager that there is no shortage of people willing to appear on the program who would have been happy to defend the state’s position. They just didn’t try.

The show’s hosts and producer did clearly go out of their way to line-up guests for the opposition. One of the program’s early guests, Will Brown, works in a local Jacksonville newsroom where part of his salary is (or was) paid through a controversial arrangement with a left-wing journalism non-profit. We’ve exposed those types of problematic arrangements before, but they work like this: a left-wing “philanthropist” gives money to left-wing non-profit foundation, which uses those dollars to identify, vet, educate, train, install, fund or otherwise support journalists sympathetic to the philanthropist’s or foundation’s political goals. And we benefit from all the free* information!

Other guests included Democrat State Senator Shevrin Jones, one of the most outspoken voices against DeSantis and state Republican lawmakers, and Larry Rivers, who is a Distinguished Professor of History at FAMU. Rivers was quick to defend The College Board, which produced some of the controversial curriculum at the center of the debate.

In the second half of the program, the topic shifted to the plight of school teachers, whom the program portrays as having to live in fear of being thrown in jail if they don’t remove (or at least cover) their personally curated collections of student reading materials in the classroom if they contain pornography or age-inappropriate material.

Oh, those poor school teachers. Over the last week, we’ve seen nothing but television images and selfies on social media of barren classrooms and empty bookshelves. Because, apparently, for some Florida educators, it has become too difficult for them to decide which pornography violates the law and which pornography might slip past the state censors, so they wisely just remove everything, then complain about it to WLRN’s resident sympathetic ear, Kate Payne.

To bolster her coverage of these censorship horrors, Payne’s own news coverage was bolstered by…drum roll please…. another liberal journalist also sympathetic to the cause. Judd Legum is a well known liberal thought-leader and the founder of ThinkProgress, a once-thriving but now-defunct left-wing news site. A few years ago, Legum ran for office as a Democrat, coming up short in a bid for a Maryland legislative seat. But today he runs his own newsletter, called Popular Information.

Listen to the full-hour long parade of liberal commentators here.

If ever there was an argument to defund public radio, this is it. They proved in a single-hour that there’s no shortage of left-wing journalists, and no shortage of left-wing funding that could easily keep NPR and its affiliates on the air, even without our tax dollars.

*Free information is paid for in part by donations from federal, state and local tax dollars which flow to NPR through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Over the next two fiscal years (2023-2024), Congress has appropriated $1 billion (2023: $475 million; 2024: $525 million) to CPB, which sends over 71 percent of its budget to NPR and PBS local affiliate stations. [Source: CPB]


  1. Michael Duvall

    Stop whining. There are always three sides to every story. Unless you’re running for office, bashing opposition is a waste of your and my time.

  2. Deborah Coffey

    Oh, please. Most likely, 90% of the country is against what you and DeSantis are doing to education in Florida! Republicans are in the business of wiping out all Blacks, Browns, Gays, Women and every other non-White Christian Nationalist group. What you’re doing is INDOCTRINATING kids! It’s despicable and NPR and all the rest of us will not allow you to get away with it. More, more, more NPR and MSNBC!!!!!!! And, much less of the far right wing “The Capitolist.”

  3. Bruce S

    Your complaint rings hollow since you have been proven to be funded by Big Power and big corps. Plus, allowing racists a national platform to justify their views doesn’t seem to be in any public interest. On the other hand, NPR should have found some cretin to provide an example of the morally-bankrupt authoritarian thinking that undergirds his embarrassment. Backhandedly, you are right. LOL!

    • Brian Burgess

      Like virtually EVERY private-sector media outlet, we rely on a broad range of sponsors and advertisers to fund our work, which includes corporations, associations and other groups. We don’t receive a dime in federal, state or local tax dollars, though.

  4. Bruce S

    BTW, most NPR funding comes from listeners like me with very little from the government.

    • Brian Burgess

      So it won’t matter if we cut the $1 billion they’re slated to get from the federal government then. Right?

        • Brian Burgess

          You are the victim of NPR’s own deceit. They receive a substantial amount of federal dollars which flow from the CPB to local affiliate radio stations, who then kick those dollars BACK to NPR.

        • Brian Burgess

          Here’s a link that says NPR affiliate stations (local public radio), will receive $125.71 million in FY2025 if Congress approves their budget request.

          I think it’s you who is spouting NPR’s “nonsense” by not acknowledging how the cash actually flows.

          Like the liberal non-profit groups that support newsrooms across the country, NPR is very good at masking the actual source of the money. It starts at CPB (slated to receive $1 billion in federal funding over the next two years, meaning that NPR affiliate stations across the country will receive hundreds of millions in federal funding). Those stations then funnel some of that money back to the NPR mothership. It all happens through what they call “Community Service Grants,” or CSG’s.

          Next time, I suggest YOU do more research than a simple Google search and posting a link.

      • Bruce S

        Did you do any research before vomiting nonsense? Thank you dmmorrison for providing a link which it took about 10 seconds for me to locate. Dang, Brian, that was really pathetic.

        • Brian Burgess

          Hi Bruce. My question to you is: did YOU do any research or do you just read NPR’s balance sheet and not ask about the source of some of the line items?

          The Corporation for Public Broadcasting gets hundreds of millions per year in federal funding. They give those dollars to local public radio stations, which pay NPR to be affiliates. NPR then pretends those dollars AREN’T from the federal government even though they are.

          • Bruce S

            As a journalist, I expect you to provide an authoritative source for your claim. Looking forward to it.

          • Brian Burgess

            The link you’re asking for has already been provided. You just have to actually READ it.

            Here’s a link to CPB’s current funding request for FY 2025: shows their current funding request.

            The funding through 2024 has already been approved to the tune of $1 billion over the next two years. Source:

            It may help you to understand how the cash actually flows, which illuminates why the NPR mothership is able to make the creatively deceptive claim that they receive very little “direct federal funding.” In fact, the lion’s share of the federal funding goes to local public radio stations, all which include the NPR logo somewhere on their website, a privilege for which they pay NPR using those same federal funds. NPR doesn’t consider those licensing payments as “federal” dollars even though they are.

            Here’s a great link to help you wrap your head around how the cash actually flows. Best of all, these are all straight from the CPB:


            Hope that helps you better understand why people don’t think NPR and its affiliates should be allowed to use federal tax dollars to produce politically loaded content.

          • Bruce S

            Sorry about my delayed response – I’ve been under the weather. Your comment link was posted after my comment BTW. The links were quite helpful and I wish you had started with those; the one in the article wasn’t as helpful. Still, the amount of money is not the largesse assumed. The pot of funding divided among 1500 outlets with much of it headed toward under-served, marginal outlets doesn’t amount to much. If outlets are typically raising $6 for every federal $1 received, then it is hardly a big deal. You could buy one F-22 or F-35 with the entire allocation for TV and radio.

            Further, I think (hope) public media (and the rest) learned a lesson on the needfulness of representing views that are toxic and false, having learned (finally) from experience with COVID and elections that providing open platforms to toxic elements is not beneficial to public discourse when the intent is not to inform about alternative views but to disinform with falsehoods and simply sow discord. The advocates of bleaching history white have every right to speak, but they don’t need to be granted the privilege of broadcast when their offering fails to advance public interest, i.e. writing out/whiting out the history of Black people in the USA. His Highness Ron routinely cherry-picks his media outlets for his public pronouncements paid for with tax dollars, yet I doubt you would insist that excluded media should be allowed access since his activities are publicly funded and in official capacity.

  5. wjtinfwb

    The Federal Government has zero business being in the media business. Same as with the Abortion business. I’d like McCarthy to put a budget proposal on the table that eliminates my and every other taxpayers contribution to these two partisan entities who provide services at zero cost to a few, on the backs of the entire US taxpayers population. And I don’t care if it’s 2 Billion or 2 Bucks, I’m not ok with my money being spent on these institutions that exist to serve a partisan and specific segment of people at zero cost to them.

  6. rodthomson

    It’s not hardly like this is a unique incident with NPR. They’ve been the leftist’s comms machine with our tax dollars for decades. Like the rest of media, they’ve just dropped the veil recently.

    The good news is that these programs don’t change any minds because the people watching NPR today are 100% on board with the state propaganda and have no intentions of changing their mind, or even the ability to. See the comments above. No one else consumes NPR’s far left drivel except folks like above, so no harm done — other than spending my money dishonestly, which frankly goes for most of government.

    • Brian Burgess

      But the money they get IS the problem. Why are we spending half a billion per year on one-sided political drivel?

      • Deborah Coffey

        And, you’re not delivering one-sided far right wing drivel? Come on, Brian….

  7. Anonymous

    The rag is an utter joke. Flori-duh has the DeSantis stink on it’s hands…and Scott. Selling off every last available acre to developers, mucking up homeowners insurance, welcoming every last ignorant racist into the fold and running qualified nurses and teachers out of state.
    Meanwhile The Capitolist focuses on liberals🤣
    Just keep wages low and citizens unhappy FL. That what it’s all about right?
    If it weren’t for the North this state would be full of uneducated swamp life.

  8. Anonymous

    By the way, thanks for the link and the list of Florida pols I’ll now contribute to.

  9. Michael Duvall

    This article is merely an ad hominem argument against an organization rather than an individual. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to debate the merits of our governor’s position on education.

  10. Jesse

    you’re confused. Objective non-biased journalism tells the truth. presenting less than the truth in order to appear even-handed to the right-wing is bias in favor of the right. very simple.

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