The Association for Public Television Stations and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting today (March 9) issued statements regarding the undercover video sting of NPR executives Ron Schiller and Betsy Liley, and today's resignation of NPR President Vivian Schiller.
From APTS President Patrick Butler:
Since assuming the presidency of NPR two years ago, Vivian Schiller has led her organization to new heights of news coverage, audience growth and financial strength, and her friends and admirers in public broadcasting wish her well in the next chapter of her remarkable career.
The comments of former NPR executive Ron Schiller are indefensible and reprehensible, and in no way do they reflect the philosophy of the thousands of people in public broadcasting who are committed to providing a civil forum for in-depth, objective reporting and discussions of public issues at the local, national and international levels.
Public opinion research consistently finds enthusiastic support for public broadcasting across the ideological and political spectrum, and the most recent survey finds 69 percent of Americans favoring continued or increased federal funding for public broadcasting. One hundred seventy million Americans regularly turn to their local public broadcasting station for the most trusted news and public affairs, educational and cultural programming in America.
We are confident that the millions of viewers and listeners, students and citizens who depend on public television and radio continue to believe, as we do, that public broadcasting provides an essential service to a self-governing society and that this service richly deserves continued public support.
For nearly 50 years, the federal investment in public broadcasting has helped to strengthen our society. Public broadcasting educates our children, increases our sense of community as Americans, and provides a respectful non-commercial alternative on a hyper-commercial media landscape.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is responsible for the health and vitality of public broadcasting in the United States and the investment of taxpayer dollars in locally owned and controlled public broadcasting stations and national producers and distributors of content such as PBS and NPR.
Recent events involving NPR officials have not reflected the values and aspirations of public broadcasting. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is committed to fair, balanced, objective, and transparent journalism that reflects a variety of viewpoints. The Corporation is committed to editorial standards that clearly separate decisions about content from financial or political considerations. We demand respect for all Americans whatever their racial or ethnic background, political belief, educational level, or occupation.
The Corporation condemns the unprofessional conduct and offensive statements by Mr. Schiller and Ms. Liley that are inconsistent with these values. We will continue to work with our local station and national network partners to achieve these values and we will support NPR in its search for a Chief Executive who can strengthen NPR and fulfill them.