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NPR exec.: Attacks on NPR "unfair"

Shortly before the House passed a bill which would bar all funding to NPR and other distributors of public radio, Mike Risken, NPR's VP of Policy and Representation spoke with CBS News senior political producer Rob Hendin and weighed in on the vote taking place.

"We have great concerns about its implications for the entire public radio system hundreds of stations, dozens of producers and the communities that rely on them each and every day," he said on Washington Unplugged. "It is a direct and calculated effort to weaken public radio that if enacted would choke our stations ability to serve their local audiences."

"We do think those attacks are unfair," he added when asked about the criticism NPR has received in Congress.

When asked what the mood was like at NPR in the wake of a string of controversies that propelled Republicans to move ahead with a vote, Risken told Hendin, "We have extraordinary confidence in the abilities of our journalists to do their job. We are deeply proud of the work they do and we are doing everything we can to ensure that they can continue to do their work and an environment free of influence of any kind."

Risken also responded to charges that NPR is politically biased. "We believe strongly in the character and integrity of our journalistic and programming products. And we believe the American public does as well," he said.

It is believed that the bill will not pass the Senate and the White House has already come out strongly against it.

"We're going to get on with what we do regardless of what the outcome is but we are grateful for people on, politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle who have spoken up on behalf of public radio programming journalism," he said.

Watch Rob Hendin's full interview with Risken above.