PBS, NPR engaging in illegal lobbying? (Update: WH defends NPR's fed. funding)

The Washington Times says so.

NPR and PBS stations nationwide are rallying their audiences to contact Congress to fight against Republicans’ proposed spending cuts, but some affiliates’ pleas may violate laws preventing nonprofits or government-funded groups from lobbying.

Interrupting popular programs, the stations air warnings that cuts could end beloved children’s television shows such as “Sesame Street.” Some stations urge their audience to call and let Congress know their feelings, while others go further, instructing viewers to “stop the Senate” or “defend federal funding” for public broadcasting.

The bit about "Sesame Street" is, of course, a brazen lie. They're trotting out the popular stuff to make their strongest case, knowing full well that that program and many others on public broadcasting can survive just by product merchandising alone. Big Bird is in no danger of winding up on John Boehner's Thanksgiving table. Public broadcasting is practically a commercial entity now; it's time to make honest broadcasters of them. If Discovery, Travel, Food, Planet Green and the Hitler UFO Ghost Hunter History Channel can survive, so can the public broadcasters. And if they can't, they can't. Some of their more popular shows, such as Nova and Frontline, will undoubtedly find homes elsewhere. Bill Moyers probably won't, and that's not really a bad thing and the taxpayers shouldn't be subsidizing him anyway.

But this all just points up, one more time, why these networks need to be weaned of federal funds. They don't respect the taxpayers who fund them, and they don't respect the law. They should be taught to respect both.

And by the way, according to NPR's media reporter, Vivian Schiller didn't resign -- she was forced out.

Update: The Obama WH today defended NPR as a "worthwhile and important priority." Which means that this WH is as unserious about budget cuts as Nevada's Senator Cowboy Poet.