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National ‘Public’ Radio declares Kenosha shooter guilty before trial despite evidence of self-defense, sparks calls to #DefundNPR

National ‘Public’ Radio declares Kenosha shooter guilty before trial despite evidence of self-defense, sparks calls to #DefundNPR
Centrist taxpayer-funded outlet National Public Radio (NPR) has attacked US President Donald Trump for “defending” the shooter of three protesters in Kenosha. Trump supporters have renewed a longstanding call to defund it.

NPR tore into Trump after he “declined to condemn” the actions of the 17-year-old Illinois resident who shot three protesters – allegedly in self-defense – amid ongoing rioting in Kenosha. The news outlet jeered that Trump had claimed, “without evidence, that it appeared the gunman was acting in self-defense.” 

While the president also acknowledged there was an ongoing investigation into the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, who has been charged with six criminal counts including first-degree murder over his shooting three people during the riots in Kenosha, NPR focused on his refusal to pass judgement on the young gunman.

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He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like,” Trump told reporters during a Monday press conference when asked about the shooting. “I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed.

NPR scornfully dismissed video from the riots that appeared to show Rittenhouse had fired on protesters who were pursuing him, claiming it “only tell[s] a partial story” and had “split onlookers on party lines.” The outlet also mischaracterized Rittenhouse’s defenders, arguing he’d been painted as a “tragic figure” due to “Democrat failures to quell violence on their streets” instead of referring to the self-defense explanation proffered by Trump and Rittenhouse’s lawyers.

The calls to #DefundNPR came hard and fast from the president’s supporters, who denounced it as “a radical leftist organization funded with your tax dollars.” 

The network’s defenders, however, pointed out that NPR wasn’t as government-funded as its detractors seemed to think, with just a small fraction of its cash coming from governments and the taxpayer-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Republicans have been calling for the defunding of NPR for decades, even winning a 2011 House vote to prohibit federal funding to the network and its affiliates. But the network has survived, largely due to corporate – not public – funding.

The CPB lost much of its taxpayer funding in the 1980s, and large corporations stepped in to pick up the slack, eager to ensure their coverage on trusted “public radio” would be favorable. Over the past three decades, private interests, such as currency-speculating liberal billionaire George Soros, have flooded the once-“public” NPR and its ilk with cash, even as the outlets continue to tell their audience they’re supported by “viewers like you.

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NPR even escaped Twitter and Facebook’s recent labeling blitz against state-backed media, with the platforms offering the dubious excuse that it and other outlets friendly to US geopolitical aims had “editorial independence” and thus didn’t merit a warning label. 

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