WESLACO, RGV – A top supporter of National Public Radio in the Rio Grande Valley says the alleged verbal abuse dished out by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to NPR anchor Mary Louise Kelly is a good example of why the RGV needs the station.

Shawn Seale is a co-founder of the non-profit Grassroots Public Radio RGV. The group is trying to get NPR back in the Valley. The service was lost when the Diocese of Brownsville sold 88 FM last May.

Shawn Seale

Seale said: “What Secretary Pompeo allegedly said to Mary Louise Kelly, the co-host of NPR’s All Things Considered, is not conducive to freedom of the press. It is horrifying to hear that he verbally abused the NPR reporter. He must be a brute.”

In an interview with Kelly, Pompeo took questions about U.S. policy in Iran and spoke about the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Afterwards, according to Kelly, Pompeo proceeded to shout his displeasure at being questioned about Ukraine. He used repeated expletives, Kelly said. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. NPR said Kelly is not be discussing the interview with external press at this time.

Here is the interview NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly conducted with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“Stories like this are great examples of why we need NPR in the Valley. Why should we miss out on what is going on?” Seale said. “I know people say we can get NPR online but that is not the same as tuning in via the radio. NPR provides us with quality news and quality programs. We deserve to have this service in the Valley, which, after all, is home to 1.2 million people.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Seale said Grassroots Public Radio RGV is raising funds to bring back NPR. She said the group is holding private discussions with other NPR stations in Texas about having the service restored, along with Congressman Vicente Gonzalez. Seale said the general public can make a donation to the cause via this website: fundrazr.com/savenprrgv

“For many people it might seem the push to bring NPR back has gone quiet. But, there is a lot going on. We are determined to bring it back,” Seale said.

Editor’s Note: Click here to read the NPR story about Kelly’s interview with Pompeo and her claims that the secretary verbally abused her for asking tough questions.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows journalist Mary Louise Kelly.