The Higher Ed Money Machine

Following up on some of the comments below, I thought this was a really interesting Frontline on the for-profit education sector.  Won’t let me embed for some reason, here’s the link.

Somewhat related, but this video is another example of the amazing work that public broadcasting does on a daily basis and shows why Fox News current campaign to stop funding NPR is so disheartening.  I can’t think of a better resource for educating oneself on the issues of the day than NPR. 

Fox is essentially arguing that NPR has a liberal bias, and is no different than Fox/CNN/MSNBC.  Therefore, it shouldn’t be funded by the taxpayer as it unfairly supports one political point of view.  If you actually listen to it, I think its hard to say that this argument stands up.  Even if there is a liberal slant, James Fallows draws the key distinction between public radio and its for-profit competitors. 

“”News” in the normal sense is a means for Fox’s personalities, not an end in itself. It provides occasions for the ongoing development of its political narrative — the war on American values, the out-of-touchness of Democrats — much as current events give preachers material for sermons. This is why Fox’s emphasis goes to its star interpreters — Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, the “Fox and Friends” crew — more than to expanding bureaus around the country or the world, investing in scientific, economic, or international expertise, or generally trying harder to place primary observers wherever it can.**

Isn’t NPR just the same thing, from an different political perspective? No, and the difference matters.

NPR, whatever its failings, is one of the few current inheritors of the tradition of the ambitious, first-rate news organization…

In their current anti-NPR initiative, Fox and the Republicans would like to suggest that the main way NPR differs from Fox is that most NPR employees vote Democratic. That is a difference, but the real difference is what they are trying to do. NPR shows are built around gathering and analyzing the news, rather than using it as a springboard for opinions. And while of course the selection of stories and analysts is subjective and can show a bias, in a serious news organization the bias is something to be worked against rather than embraced. NPR, like the New York Times, has an ombudsman. Does Fox? [I think the answer is No.]”

Long post but worth a full read.

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About Connie Stinson

Connie Stinson is a lawyer/talk show host who dabbles in the arts of strained analogies, forced humor, and poor spelling. In his spare time Mr. Stinson enjoys charcoal BBQ, as well as any and all things related to humor. He is currently working on his second book, "Look at You, You're a Mountain: A Retrospective On Hogs and the Men Who Love Them."
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One Response to The Higher Ed Money Machine

  1. Mola Ram says:

    Great post. I love NPR and it’s precisely because I’m not bombarded with make-up caked personalities perched on soapboxes (and obviously it’s not only Fox– MSNBC and CNN are no differen). NPR gives me news– facts, quotes from the people actually involved, history, statistics.

    I will definitely watch that Frontline soon. Last year, I met plenty of for-profit college reps as they were trying to get into my classroom to sell my kids knowledge. High schools are very much on-guard against them, but I certainly think they’re worth looking into, at least just to understand why and how they’re in business.

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