[BREAKING] House Cuts NPR Funding

UPDATE, MARCH 17, 12:41 P.M.: The U.S. House of Representatives just voted to defund National Public Radio (NPR). The matter now goes to the Senate.

Start buying those tote bags.

Mr. Rogers
ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 11, 7:58 A.M.: The president and CEO of PBS SoCal (formerly KOCE-TV/Channel 50), Mel Rogers, could not have known when he recently warned of government budget cuts to public television what loomed on the horizon.

Or, more accurately, who: Republican provocateur James O'Keefe.

O'Keefe, famous/infamous for raising his pimp hand to ACORN, grabbed headlines this week for duping NPR with actors posing as members of the fictional Muslim Education Action Center Trust--leading to some high-level departures from the public-radio network that is partly supported by government grants.

James O'Keefe, frontin'
Then came the disclosure that the Muslim Education Action Center Trust fakers also met with PBS's senior vice president for development, Brian Reddington. It's unclear whether O'Keefe's cameras were rolling for that lunch to confirm PBS's spin: that Reddington had "profound concerns about the organization," which led the network to investigate and eventually cut off contact with the merry pranksters.

No matter. The NPR lunch did enough damage to embolden budget-shredders on Capitol Hill to call for gutting taxpayer funding of public radio and PBS, CPB and anything starring Elmo.

It makes Rogers look like Kreskin when he writes that the No. 1 source for educational programming for children, educational resources for teachers of the young and news for millions of people was endangered. The PBS allocation is tiny, but the impact will be huge, according to Rogers.

Here's a link to Rogers' letter. You'll also find it on the PBS SoCal page that lists the members of the board of the PBS SoCal Foundation, which owns the station. At the top of the list is the board's chairwoman, Jo Ellen Chatham.

Longtime Weekly readers likely know her more from her previous married name, Jo Ellen Allen. My colleague R. Scott Moxley put Jo Ellen and her late husband Eddie Allen through his journalistic Cuisinart when "Fast Eddie" found himself at the center of one of Orange County's most spectacular civil fraud trials.

Jo Ellen Allen Chatham
This was a case that hit all the OC bases: colorful CIA spooks, jungle-torture allegations, right-wing politics, infidelity, brazenly deceitful financial schemes, crusty decorated Vietnam War generals--and a mainstream-media blackout from the MIA Orange County Register and barely there Los Angeles Times.

Surely, the dailies were not gun-shy due to Jo Ellen being dragged into the case. I mean, it's not like she was vice chairwoman of the Orange County Republican Party, vice president of the Orange County Taxpayers Association, a frequent candidate for local office, a frequent talking head on local and national television, and, most important, the go-to conservative female frequently filling their funny papers, one so conservative female she opposed equal rights for women.

Oh, wait a minute, she was those things!

Anyway, Chatham is one of those convenient conservatives who talks the choke-government-in-the-crib talk when it's government assistance for poor people, unwed mothers or those lacking healthcare. But touch a hair on the head of her precious, barely watched public-television station and she may as well change her name again, this time to Jo Ellen Guevara.

It's the same brand of conservatism radioman Hugh Hewitt employs when he opposes all tax hikes except those his fellow Irvine residents pay to support the schools his kids attend.

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