Where Does NPR Get Its Funding From? Calls to Defund Outlet Met With Calls to Donate

An NPR article about President Donald Trump's failure to condemn the Kenosha, Wisconsin, shooting has prompted calls to defund the organization, but the outlet receives only a minimal amount of government funding.

NPR and its member stations rely predominantly on contributions from listeners to maintain operations, followed by corporate sponsorships. Only 4 percent of funding in fiscal year 2017 came from federal, state and local governments, according to NPR, and on average, less than 1 percent of its annual operating budget comes from federal agencies and departments or grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Among those calling to defund NPR were the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank; Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, and Representative Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican.

"This is poorly done propaganda NPR," Gosar posted on Twitter. "You guys realize millions of people have watched multiple videos of the attacks on Kyle and his response? In court that's called...'evidence.'"

Meanwhile, Twitter users have countered the calls to defund NPR with pushes for people to donate to the organization. Maryland State Delegate Lesley Lopez posted on the social media website that she was donating, and former Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri encouraged people who "appreciate their fact-based reporting" to make an individual contribution.

Newsweek reached out to NPR for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

#DefundNPR funding public federal donations
National Public Radio's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Calls for NPR to be defunded came after it published an article criticizing President Donald Trump for not condemning Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, who has been charged in the fatal shooting of two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests last week. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

"Trump Defends Kenosha Shooting Suspect," the NPR-published article prompting the outrage, said the president claimed without evidence that it appeared Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was acting in self-defense. Rittenhouse was arrested and charged with six felony counts, including first-degree intentional homicide, in the shooting of three people during protests in Kenosha last week, two of whom were fatally injured.

"He was trying to get away from them, I guess it looks like. And he fell, and then they very violently attacked him," Trump said during a briefing on Monday. "He...probably would have been killed."

Rittenhouse has been condemned as a vigilante and murderer who unnecessarily took it upon himself to restore law and order during the Kenosha protests. But he's gained support from Republicans, who defend his actions on the basis that the shooting was done in self-defense. John Pierce, his lawyer, told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Monday that Rittenhouse was attempting to help protect businesses in Kenosha and was "100 percent" acting in self-defense.

Trump hadn't weighed in to the calls to defund NPR because of the article, but his budgets from the past four years proposed cutting budgets to the CPB. He also questioned the reason behind NPR's existence in January.

Although federal funding accounts for a small percentage of NPR's budget, the outlet calls it "essential" to public radio's service to the public. Eliminating funding would result in fewer programs and less local journalism and eventually cause radio stations to disappear, "particularly in rural and economically distressed communities," NPR said.