Sep
17
2013

NPR's New Boss: Financial Industry Lobbyist, GOP Donor, Right-Wing Think Tank Booster

npr-logoLast month NPR CEO Gary Knell left to take a job at National Geographic, making him the latest in a string of CEOs who left after a short stint running the public radio outlet. On September 13, NPR named a new acting president and CEO: board member Paul G. Haaga.

The NPR press release  (9/13/13) states that Haaga's "accomplished career" included a stint as "chairman of the Investment Company Institute"–the powerful lobbying group of the mutual fund industry. As the Los Angeles Times  (11/29/03) once reported, "Mutual funds have been mostly shielded from the reforms forced on the financial world–thanks in large part to the efforts of the Investment Company Institute."

NPR also adds that Haaga has ties to right-wing think tanks–he is "a member of the National Council of the American Enterprise Institute" and he sits on "the Board of Overseers of Hoover Institution at Stanford University."

Paul Haaga

Paul Haaga

Haaga is also a fairly regular contributor to Republican politicians. According to OpenSecrets.org, this year he made a $32,400 donation to the Republican National Committee;  in the previous two years, he made contributions of around $30,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. He's also given four-figure checks to a large number of mostly Republican candidates, including  Rep. Paul Ryan, George Allen and Mitch McConnell.

So the new boss–for now–at NPR is a former financial industry lobbyist who is a regular donor to Republican politicians, with ties to two prominent conservative think tanks. When NPR finds a new boss, he'll continue to be a member of NPR's board.

According to right-wing mythology, NPR is a decidedly left-wing media outlet, living off government subsidies and pushing a liberal agenda. That's not at all true when it comes to what's on the air–or who's on the board.

 

 

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.