EXCLUSIVE: Days after Seth MacFarlane’s outrage over Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s suggestion that viewers should discount any other media besides Fox News ignited the Internet, the Family Guy creator is acting on it with a $2 million donation to NPR and $500,000 to Los Angeles’ NPR membership station, KPCC, the top news distribution for NPR content in Southern California.
In MacFarlane’s tweet on Saturday, he criticized Carlson whose comments he interpreted as telling viewers, “don’t think critically, don’t consult multiple news sources, and in general, don’t use your brain.”
To counter that and support NPR’s mission to create a more informed public and strengthen democracy, MacFarlane is making the major donation. It is designed specifically to support NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network, which was created to better connect NPR’s almost 1,800 journalists embedded around the world by linking newsrooms within geographical regions to better share resources, cover breaking news more efficiently, collaborate on overall coverage and ramp up investigative reporting, hire and deploy more beat reporters and elevate local and regional stories to the national level, eliminating “news deserts” in the U.S.
“We are deeply appreciative of the generous gift from Seth MacFarlane, which will go to supporting local news coverage, allowing NPR and Member stations to continue working together to tell the story of the whole country from everywhere in the country,” a NPR spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline.
In addition to creating commercial entertainment series like Family Guy, American Dad! and The Orville, MacFarlane has been passionate about promoting knowledge and education, which he is doing in the science arena with his revival of the classic docu-series Cosmos on Fox.
KPCC intends to use the donation as a challenge grant.
“We are deeply moved by Seth’s generous contribution to Southern California Public Radio, KPCC and NPR,” said Bill Davis, President and CEO of Southern California Public Radio, said in a statement to Deadline. “It is this local/national partnership that is the heart of our shared public service mission and we are committed to more fully realizing that mission thanks to this gift and his challenge for others to join us.”
MacFarlane’s donation comes amid a strong push for the “fake news” narrative promoted by President Donald Trump, which includes distrust of mainstream media beyond Fox News. U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielson made a “don’t believe the press” comment yesterday in her remarks on the country’s controversial immigration policy of separating children from their families.
In his now famous tweet, MacFarlane wrote that statements like Carlson’s “make me embarrassed to work for this company,” referring to Fox. He was joined by fellow top 20th Century Fox TV showrunner Steve Levitan, who said that ” I’m disgusted to work at a company that has anything whatsoever to do with @FoxNews” following the cable network host Laura Ingraham on Monday night comparing the children detention centers along the Mexican border to summer camps.