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Report: Non-Profit NPR To Make A ‘Modest Margin’ This Year

Ongoing discussions about whether NPR has a liberal bias usually end up revolving around the question of whether the multi-platform news network merits partial funding from governments grants and the (federally funded) Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

That debate reached a veritable boiling point when undercover footage produced by conservative activist James O’Keefe‘s Project Veritas showed NPR executive Ron Schiller sharing that NPR did not require federal funding. That footage was later revealed to have been edited, but the argument, for many, stands firm.

Now, a deeper look into NPR’s finances shows the nonprofit outlet stands to make a “modest margin” this year. Daily Finance reports:

As a whole, NPR — as is common for a nonprofit — usually runs a deficit. According to audited financial statements, NPR’s revenue ran a $8.3 million deficit in the 2010 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. Revenues rose to $184.3 million from $148.7 million a year earlier, while expenses jumped to $192.5 last year from $166.6 million in 2009. But after cutting staff and scaling back benefits in 2008, NPR expects to make a “modest margin” this year, according to spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm.

Critics of NPR’s funding methods – who count some Republican lawmakers among their fold – argue that government funding for NPR constitutes “nonessential government spending” in the face of mounting national debt.

One of NPR’s most vocal detractors, ousted NPR contributor Juan Williams, has said that his former employer “prostitutes itself for money,” and that it does indeed have a set political agenda:

They will say things to your face about how there’s no liberal orthodoxy at NPR, how they play it straight, but now you see it for what it is. They prostitute themselves for money.

He adds that NPR has “all sorts of ways to do advertising,” including sponsorship announcements that he likens to commercials, despite the outlet’s policy of not running traditional advertisements.

Revelations regarding the annual salaries of NPR’s top talent (according to Daily Finance, via NPR’s latest 990 filing, among other sources) simply add fuel to the fire for its critics, who say NPR staffers make too much for working at a nonprofit:

Fresh Air host / executive producer Terry Gross: $245,563 in 2008

This American Life host Ira Glass: earned $170,605 in 2008

Morning Edition host Renee Montagne: $405,140

Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep: $356,499

All Things Considered anchor Robert Siegel: $358,653

Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon: $364,465

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