National Public Radio is not only a broadcast boutique operated by and for liberals, it's now flooded with more cash than it could possibly ever need, thanks to a liberal philanthropist. Last week, the estate of Joan Kroc, the wife of McDonald's franchising genius Ray Kroc, who died last summer, announced an award of $200 million to NPR.
Joan Kroc rose to public prominence when she was the first American to donate a fat million dollars in 1987 to the Democratic National Committee. She said she was appalled by "an unwarranted and excessive increase of our military weapons" under President Reagan and "by the use of military force as our first priority in carrying out U.S. policy abroad," extending from Lebanon and Libya to Grenada and Nicaragua.
Joan Kroc was a Carterite peacenik, a major donor to Jimmy Carter's political rehabilitation center in Georgia. With her millions, she endowed two "peace" institutes of the Dennis Kucinich variety at Catholic universities, one at Notre Dame and the other at the University of San Diego. The San Diego institute's recent events calendar included a speech by Australian radical Helen Caldicott, who advocates the elimination of all nuclear weapons. When Mrs. Kroc died a month ago, Scott Appleby, the Notre Dame institute's director, proclaimed she was "single-minded in her dedication to eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons and all forms of deadly violence."
In short, Joan Kroc was a Mommy Peacebucks. Her massive favoritism toward NPR leads to the inescapable conclusion that she felt that putting her money on "All Things Considered," "Morning Edition" and "Talk of the Nation" was in line with the rest of her political giving. It was, she hoped, just another effective avenue for defunding the Pentagon and lobbying against American military action of any kind.
So what does this say about NPR?
Let's leave our senses for a minute and enter a strange alternative universe. Imagine that the generous conservative philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife left one tenth of Kroc's amount to NPR in his estate. You know exactly what would happen, from coast to coast. The political left would rush to the rooftops to proclaim, in a panic, that NPR was being dangerously compromised, politicized, dragged to a right-wing extreme. Everywhere, there would be a call for NPR to honor its commitment to objective journalism by returning that gift.