Counting the Reasons to Defund

The 20 Most Memorable Leftist Excesses of Public Broadcasting

Wishing Helms Dead

3. NPR reporter Nina Totenberg wishes Jesse Helms dead from AIDS (1995).

     On July 5, 1995 The New York Times reported Sen. Jesse Helms was holding up the Ryan White AIDS Care Act with moral objections, saying AIDS is caused by “deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct.” He also insisted AIDS was getting more federal money per victim than other diseases with many more victims. At the time, the American Heart Association estimated that the Department of Health and Human Services spent $36,763 in research for every AIDS or HIV-related death in 1993, in contrast to $3,708 for every death from cancer, $1,032 for every death from heart disease and $731 for every death from stroke.

     But Helms was easily demonized. On the PBS show Inside Washington on July 8, columnists Charles Krauthammer and Tony Snow both admonished Helms for blurring the funding issues with his moral objections. Host Tina Gulland said “I don’t think I have any Jesse Helms defenders here. Nina?”

    National Public Radio Supreme Court reporter Nina Totenberg uncorked some hate speech: “Not me. I think he ought to be worried about what’s going on in the Good Lord’s mind, because if there is retributive justice, he’ll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it.”

    There were no gasps or protests, even from the cwere no gasps or protests, even from the conservatives. Gulland didn’t even blink before changing the subject away from these death wishes. “Let me stop a moment. Because I want to tell you how the President and the Speaker of the House reacted, because the Speaker of the House had an interesting solution. Let’s hear from them right now.”

     Juan Williams was fired for supposedly Islamophobic comments on Fox News, but NPR never suspended Totenberg or punished her in any way for these remarks. The media elite never reported them.