A conservative president or Congress that does not defund public broadcasting does not understand what the moment requires—or, in the parlance of the day, they don’t know what time it is. Across the board, government must stop funding services set up with taxpayer money ostensibly to serve all Americans but which cater only to one side.
NPR is a prime example of this asymmetry. And because of its visibility, it’s a good candidate for the first symbolic act of resolve by new leadership.
At this point, NPR doesn’t even try to show good faith. It expects conservative leaders to lack the backbone to take away the government teat—and sadly, this assumption is usually correct. NPR, therefore, feels free to act brazenly as the imperial tribune of the permanent bureaucracy, amplifying the woke mindset of bi-coastal elites.
NPR presents these views as truth—the “alternative facts” of the parasitic critical Marxist orthodoxy that, for the past three or four decades, has invaded the host of American cultural institutions.
Our elites “live in a bubble of their own construction,” to quote a recent report by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. “They’ve isolated themselves from everyday America’s realities to such a degree their views about what is and what should be happening in this country differ widely from the average American’s.”
NPR has mightily contributed to erecting this wall of isolation.
Take Adrian Florido’s entirely one-sided report on Puerto Rico’s supposed support for Palestinians. In it, we find out, for example, that Puerto Rico is “one place where the Palestinian cause has long had a well of support,” and that is “because of their shared colonial histories.”
Puerto Rico, you see, languishes in the chains not just of colonialism but of what Florido calls “government-aided settler colonialism” because of the “displacement” of the natives.
We also hear that “the U.S. military invaded and took control of Puerto Rico, then a Spanish colony, in 1898. To this day, it has only limited self-government.”
Florido quotes three people, two of them pro-Palestinian activists (one of whom is herself half-Palestinian) and the third a Puerto Rican-born Princeton political anthropologist, Yarimar Bonilla, who sounds exactly as a Princeton political anthropologist would.
Puerto Ricans, Bonilla says, “see a resonance with a population that is struggling to find sovereignty, struggling against an empire that doesn’t recognize itself as such.” Bonilla, an activist who has proudly supported Black Lives Matter, appears to take seriously the notion that an American empire exists somewhere out there.
One of the two other activists, Ariana Gonzalez-Pelaez, told Florido that Puerto Ricans support Palestinians because they share a similar struggle. “Our similarities are very striking. And I feel very called to be here today,” she said.
It’s not just that Florido doesn’t quote anyone who might offer a different view, it’s that he himself never pushes back on these fantastical propositions. Even if he buys into them—and he gives every indication that he does—he has an obligation to inform the listener that maybe, just maybe, there may be another take here.
NPR makes sure it shuts down the very, very few conservative views it ever entertains. See, for example, how Steve Inskeep constantly badgered former Bush official Alfonso Aguilar on Jan. 24, 2024. On the rare occasion when a conservative gets on, NPR is there to tell the bubble, “Don’t listen! What he’s saying isn’t true.”
But since NPR is determined to keep another perspective on Puerto Rico from its audience, here it is. For starters, the U.S. involvement with Puerto Rico in 1898 could be depicted—more accurately, in my view—as a liberation from Spanish rule.
Puerto Ricans began to rebel against their colonial masters as early as 1868. Violent incidents continued on the island against Spaniards and Spanish interests until the United States declared war on Spain in 1898 and took the island.
The claims that Puerto Ricans suffer from “settler colonialism” are absurd. Puerto Rico is an “unincorporated territory” of the United States. Puerto Ricans cannot vote for president while residing on the island, but the majority that has moved to the mainland U.S. can indeed vote and are full Americans.
They appear to at least enjoy their current status, when not supporting becoming the 51st state. Of the different referenda on the question of status, in 1952, 88% approved their island’s status; in 1967, 60% voted to remain a commonwealth vs. 06% who voted for independence; in 1993, 4.4% voted for independence; in 1998, 47% voted for statehood and 4.5% for independence; in 2012, they voted 61% for statehood and 5.5% for independence; and in 2017, they voted 97% for statehood and 1.35% for independence.
Hardly the picture of an oppressed colonial people crying out to break free from the chains of a farcical American empire.
Gaza was also a self-ruling place until the terrorist attacks of Oct. 7. Talk of “shared colonial history” is invidious pap.
Millions of Puerto Ricans have left the island to live in the mainland U.S. because they are Americans with a right to do so and are selling their property to people who want to buy it. This is not “displacement.” Until President Joe Biden threw the border open, they were the only Spanish-speaking people with that privilege.
Moreover, there doesn’t appear to be any opinion poll showing how the 3 million Puerto Ricans on the island or the 5.6 million on the mainland feel about the events in Israel. Florido’s report follows several others on leftist sites such as Axios but includes not a shred of evidence of this “well of support.” This theme is fed by the teeny tiny minority that supports independence.
“They are literally four cats with a great comms team, feeding a pliable media,” says my friend and Puerto Rican analyst Jorge Bonilla.
If you are an NPR listener, the network has created this universe where you hear only fantasies, unchecked by anything. And you will continue to pay for it until someone comes along and says, “No mas.”
This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner