Republican Congressman loves public radio — no, really

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Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), new chairman of the Rules Committee in the House of Representatives, is a big fan of public broadcasting, particularly NPR’s foreign coverage and This American Life, the Public Radio International series produced by WBEZ in Chicago.

Yes, you read that correctly.

“It might not be healthy these days for conservatives to admit they like public broadcasting, given the relentless flogging it takes from some ideologues,” writes the Los Angeles Times’ Jim Rainey. “So give credit to Dreier for acknowledging the truth — that NPR, PBS and their local affiliates are gems that deserve our support, one way or another.”

Dreier is confident that funding from members, foundations and corporate donors could cover station costs. He wants to form a “post taxpayer-supported Corporation for Public Broadcasting.” He says there needs to be a “transition period,” especially for smaller stations. “There are local affiliates in places like Alaska and North Dakota and places where public broadcasting stations are the only stations out there,” Dreier says. “We need to figure out another way to do it.”

“I am just a big fan of public broadcasting,” he adds. He’s helped with pledge drives at Los Angeles stations KCET and KCRW, and Pasadena’s KPCC, along with WAMU in Washington, D.C.

Dreier will soon be traveling to Indonesia and says he can’t wait to visit NPR’s Jakarta bureau. He tells Rainey: “But what I really want to do is host Morning Edition.”

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