Living in a smaller, lesser-developed state in the U.S., I am thankful this year for National Public Radio which brings news and coverage of the world to areas such as ours ours on a non-commercial basis as a public service. I most frequently listen to the local NPR station during my “drive time” and also when I listen to satellite radio I often find the best, most worthwhile programming on NPR. The satellite radio has audio from CNN, Headlline News, Fox News, etc., most of which is not news, and simply has lower standards and loud, obnoxious and frequently disreputable commercials.
Yes, from a doctrinaire ideological viewpoint, it lacks conceptual purity to have the government provide a partial subsidy for broadcasting. Likewise, you can argue that having public libraries gets the government involved in the flow of ideas and information [full disclosure: I am on my local library board, and check out books for free]. On balance, I think this is a good practical thing that we can do for each other to help build an informed and aware citizenry that is qualified to govern itself and provide a postive example of self-government to others. No one has to listen and most people chose to be entertained instead of informed, but making this available matters, I think. From Mississippi, thanks to those of you in the rest of the country that help provide this service.
Here are some good stories from Africa this week on NPR: “River of Life–Congo Odyssey”; “Helping the World’s Poor Save, a Bit at a Time”; “Tell Me More” interview with a Kenyan village girl who is now a doctoral student at Pitt and wants to be an educator back in Kenya; “Will Kenya’s attempt to root out graft take hold?”