KUHF CEO John Proffitt Thinks You Are Stupid, Rejoices He Is No Republican

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John Proffitt gives ammo to the NPR hatahs
KUHF CEO John Proffitt thinks you are a moron.

Well, that's what you could say if you saw his Facebook page a little earlier this week.

With NPR dealing with the fallout from its recent right-wing sneak attack, you'd think everyone even remotely in a position of power in public broadcasting would be in duck-and-cover mode when it came to their personal politics, especially if those views are somewhat, shall we say, non-populist.
The right has shown it will resort to trickery to try to confirm its suspicions about public radio -- that it stands as a preserve for effete elitists, cocooning themselves against the baying of the great unwashed mob that is their fellow Americans. 

And honestly, that's the way we feel when we tune in to KUHF. We'll cotton on to a little subconscious smugness when we're laughing along with the eggheads on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me or Garrison Keillor's homespun Wobegonisms, and don't even get us started about how brainiac we feel when we turn off the TV, dial up KUHF's classical programming and pick up Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. 

But then again, we try to not be a dick about all that.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for John Proffitt, KUHF's CEO and General Manager. On the public wall of his Facebook page, he quoted H.L. Mencken in such a manner as to confirm every fanatical right-wing zealot's preconceptions of a public broadcasting muckety-muck. (Don't look now -- it's probably already been taken down, but we did grab a screencap first.)

To wit, Proffitt parroted two of the Sage of Baltimore's most unabashedly and definitively elitist declarations, namely "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican," and "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

(The second quote appears to be a mistake. What Mencken actually said wasn't as much of a shotgun blast to the entire country as Proffitt's version. In the Chicago Tribune in 1926, Mencken wrote "No one in this world, so far as I know -- and I have searched the record for years, and employed agents to help me -- has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.")
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We asked Proffitt if he deemed it wise to be so bluntly condescending to over 300 million people in so public a forum, especially if his job was funded by the donations of those same people, some of whom are even Republicans, and thus insulted twice.

"Mencken was an extremely well-known famous writer for the Baltimore newspaper," he told Hair Balls, more than a little pedantically. "And he is quoted oftentimes for his acerbic commentary on American society. That's the reason those quotes are there. Not really any other particular reason."

But, we pressed, this is a fraught world for public broadcasters. After what happened to the two Schillers, posting those quotes seemed to us downright punk-rock, reckless as a raised middle finger to the whole entire world. We told Proffitt that we feared this blog item might be received "explosively" in some quarters in this post-Schiller environment. 

"Well, I don't know what to say about that," he told us. "If you think it would be a good idea to remove that I certainly will. I've changed the quotations on my Facebook page probably ten or 15 times since I've been doing Facebook. There's not any real significance of Mencken over Teilhard de Chardin, another person I quote frequently. Jeez!"

He went on to wonder why we were singling out Mencken and we told him that in all honesty he was a hero of ours as well. (We've sported other Mencken quotes on our own Facebook page for years.) But it's not that it's Mencken, it's the Menckenisms he chose to quote. We believed he was making the rabid right's case for them -- that all those in power at public radio view all but the well-heeled, college-educated, classical-loving as slack-jawed, dull-eyed mo-rons.

We told him that we didn't take money from donors, and if we did take money from donors, we wouldn't post insulting quotations about the entire American public. (And insults that were apparent misquotes at that, we would have added had we known that wasn't exactly what Mencken said.) 

"I take your point," Proffitt said. "I honestly did not follow that line of reasoning before."



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53 comments
rated t for terrific
rated t for terrific

2 things: 1. the underestimated dont listen to NPR anyway. 2. Repubs are ACTIVELY trying to take his job from him and discredit him as a journalist. He can say whatever he wants - doesnt stop them.

Can't we all just get along?
Can't we all just get along?

But, at what point do we say, hey this is this guy's Facebook page? He can't post a quote he likes? Despite whatever job/title he has, he can't just be himself on his own dang Facebook page? If anything, he should be blasted for being too stupid to not set his profile to "private" and for only having 184 friends.

Gaspar Ramsey
Gaspar Ramsey

Oh, now we have sanctimonious hair balls? For a true view of the Press's notion of the great Texas Hoi Polloi, see "The Most Unbelievable East Texas Crime Ever". And I really doubt that "Boobus Americanus" listens to KUHT no matter of what political stripe.

Evan
Evan

Everyone has their biases. Covering them up doesn't make them any less real. The real determination should be whether that bias comes out in NPR's news reporting. Since a good deal of that news coverage is at a national level, it doesn't seem like Proffitt could influence the reporting if he wanted to. It is one thing to find quotes that indicate bias, it is another to find that bias in NPR's news coverage. And so far, no one has found that. Proffitt pulled a douche move, but who cares. At least he is honest about his opinions.

Steve Olafson
Steve Olafson

Teilhard de Chardin. There'll never be another one like him.

Steve
Steve

This is like a metanarrative of suck.

Flash
Flash

Perhaps Renee Montagne could stop referring to Tea Party members as Teabaggers in her newscasts. And perhaps NPR could stop censoring that from the March 30 podcast.

Just sayin'.

npr sux
npr sux

There was debate at SXSW about "How to Save College Radio". You can catch a pirate video of it at the save ktru facebook page. Note there are 2 different save ktru facebook sites. Its on the page with small caps "save ktru". Its kind of unbelievable how the side of NPR defends their "mission". They are taking over independent non-commercial radio stations like KTRU, ostensibly to save the radio market from "christian" broadcasting. Never mind the fact that KTRU was never a "christian" radio station... but just stop for a minute and think about the religious intolerance or bigotry of what they are saying. Replace the word "christian" with "jewish" or "muslim" etc... you get the picture. Maybe NPR should be permitted to keep its non-profit designation and be allowed to continue on the edge of the dial protected from market forces... but its time to end taxpayer support of NPR now. NPR affiliates already control half the non-commercial radio stations on the dial. That's more than enough. If NPR wants to expand their market share further, then they can do it on their own dime.

PUH-Leeez
PUH-Leeez

"The right has shown it will resort to trickery to try to confirm its suspicions about public radio -- that it stands as a preserve for effete elitists, cocooning themselves against the baying of the great unwashed mob that is their fellow Americans."

You actually believe this horse shit, Lomax? You would fit right in over at NPR.

Evan
Evan

So does this mean that KTRU wins?

radio fan
radio fan

Support KUHF - help pay John's Proffitt's $147,154 elitist public radio salary!

Who??
Who??

Never even heard of KUHF or this hack.

Tacotruck
Tacotruck

There is certainly nothing more elitist in this world than quality news and people calling on-air mechanics with questions about their cars. Then again, I'm starting to suspect "elitist" doesn't mean the same thing it used to.

ribalding
ribalding

Proffitt has the political savvy of a box of raisins.

Jaime R Puente
Jaime R Puente

Really Lomax? You're going after a guy for having quotes on his Facebook page? This has to be the dumbest "you're too well read and that insults 'real' Americans" piece of junk writing I've seen in a long time.

I can't believe I wasted my time reading this.

Saywhat
Saywhat

but notice on his FB page, Mr. Proffitt's photo is him at the mic (with KUHF logo) representing 88.7FM. Clearly, this isn't just a personal thing on his personal FB page. It is Proffitt speaking on behalf of the station. (Kinda scary for 88.7 FM if you ask me!)

npr sux
npr sux

More evidence that recruitment, retention and advancement of personal is influenced by an organizational culture of "political correctness" at NPR.

Evan
Evan

Are they not called teabaggers?

ribalding
ribalding

So can she still call them racist hate-mongers? (To your point, it WOULD be more accurate.)

What the He**
What the He**

You, and ribalding hear some second hand information and think you know what is going on. Rice University is selling KTRU whether or not KUHF buys it. The sale of which is just waiting approval from the FCC. Yes like anything deals can still fall through, but Rice will still sell KTRU to anyone who will buy it. Your third rate radio playground is going away and there is nothing your silver spooned quasi intellectual ranting and facebook pages can do about it. KUHF is taking the initiative and expanding their programming and that is a very capitalist American thing to do "for all of the Teabagger/Republican's" out there. Npr has nothing to do with the buying of KTRU, they do not even give money to KUHF as a matter of fact KUHF pays like a billion dollars a year to them. Now to all who are checking the math that is a bulls**t # but they pay through the nose for programming. Stop going after all public media and non profits and focus your energy on the real problem! LADY GAGA!

ribalding
ribalding

KUHF won't be buying KTRU. Calm yourself.

Amgeraldo
Amgeraldo

Big deal that trickery. They basically got an advertising salesman to say some stuff that they thought confirmed NPR editorial bias.

As well thought out as his 'bust' of ACORN.

npr sux
npr sux

The Wall Street Journal ran a story recently about NPR executives with salaries greater than President Obama. Stranger than fiction...

ribalding
ribalding

It doesn't mean nearly the same any more. You're right. But as long as Michelle Bachmann and the rest of her slack-jawed Luddites are breathing down the neck of federally-funded literacy, Proffitt (and all state employees, for that matter), should be more careful.

npr sux
npr sux

NPR - the last bastion of pseudo-intellectual impostors. No, taxpayer funding of NPR is not comparable to taxpayer funding of libraries - because the librarian doesn't tell you what book to check out, and how to interpret it.

antiM
antiM

you could have stopped at any time.

Mark Jeffries
Mark Jeffries

Does the heading on the page (which would be above if I was Profitt, since I'm logged in through Facebook) say "KUHF?" If it doesn't, it has nothing to do with the station. Lots of people indicate their employment on Facebook pages without it being construed as policy of their employer. This whole thing seems to be extremists on both sides--the teabaggers wanting to defund NPR and the far left lovers of fringe music at KTRU--trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Whatthehell
Whatthehell

we can at least hope john proffitt is on his way out.....for the sake of public radio in houston!

Flash
Flash

Your mother never hugged you and you've never gained your father's approval.

npr sux
npr sux

KUHF is an NPR affiliate which receives tax payer dollars from the Corp for Public Broadcasting to "buy" content produced by NPR on the East Coast. There is nothing "capitalist" about KUHF or NPR, but if that's really the direction that you want to take it, then cut all tax payer funding and let the chips fall where they may. Then we will really know if UH needs or can support an audience for 3 stations (1 TV and 2 radio) in a time of austerity. What does come though loud and clear, is that NPR supporters have locked themselves into a simplified morality play (MSNBC good, Fox bad) and they believe that until MSNBC ratings rise up the level of Fox, then the tax payer has some kind of moral obligation to balance the scales by funding NPR. Take a break from your simplified dualities.

Evan
Evan

wait really?

Amgeraldo
Amgeraldo

Silliness. Probably on its Editorial page, right?

NPR is one of the last bastions of decent broadcast news. They aren't 'leftist'. In fact they often don't challenge enough the idiocy of the modern right wing. For instance, creationism, idea of cutting debt without raising taxes, Libya flip flops....could go on all day. They are fairly wimpy compared to the British networks.

The Radio Nazi
The Radio Nazi

"federally funded literacy"=thinly disguised leftist propaganda. NO taxpayer $$ for YOU. NEXT!

Hope AND change!
Hope AND change!

Oh here we go...if you actually realize alot of NPR's "news" is biased you must be a Fox News-watching Beck/Rush/Oreilly teabagger, right? Speaking of sad.

ribalding
ribalding

Just as NPR doesn't tell you how to think. Are you so blinded by Fox News that actual UNBIASED reporting seems leftist to you?

Sad.

Somenerve
Somenerve

there's really TWO photos of him on his page where he's at the KUHF mic, logo and all. geez! some nerve.

Far From Pukin
Far From Pukin

Reread his comment about being at the microphone with the logo on it...r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y

Hope AND change!
Hope AND change!

Oh, so you are basing your predictions on office rumors. Got it.

ribalding
ribalding

It's not a crystal ball. It's a spouse and a best friend who work in the right building. (Plus it helps if you follow along with relevant radio industry publications.)

The Radio Nazi
The Radio Nazi

OK, let me clarify. Any station that broadcasts biased rhetoric and/or handpicks stories based on their political agenda should not receive federal funding. Clear enough for you now?

Rich HB
Rich HB

So specifically mention the news in your comment. You implied that a station should get no funding. This in turn would lead one to believe you dislike the entire station's programming, which, as I stated is overwhelmingly made up of classical music. A bit of funding to ensure that a tiny bit of non crap music exists for the populace is admirable in my book. Besides, the whole budget for NPR and PBS contributions by the Fed would probably only buy about 3 hours worth of fly time for an AWACS deployment or maybe only about a dozen congressmen.

The Radio Nazi
The Radio Nazi

Rich- Surely you realize I was referring to NPR news, right?

Guest
Guest

It's all that uppity book talk that's pissing you off, isn't it?And "Ira Glass?" what kind of name is that? Sounds jewy...

Rich HB
Rich HB

How is classical music "thinly disguised leftist propaganda?" If you listened to KUHF, you would find that that is what is playing the vast majority of the time. Apparently only the regurgitated rhetoric of pundits strikes your fancy and ferments your opinions. A bit of actual research helps when making a decision. Personally, I turn off the radio when ever anything other than music is playing.

ribalding
ribalding

Well, at least your screen name is honest.

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