Mar 8, 2011

NPR's Ron Schiller caught in video sting

A covertly recorded video of NPR Foundation President Ron Schiller meeting with prospective donors was released by conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe this morning. Schiller, whose appointment to a new job with the Aspen Institute was announced last week, was recorded in February describing members of the Tea Party as "white, middle America, gun-toting.....They're seriously racist, racist people." Schiller was having lunch with two men from a fake Muslim foundation who said they were interested in donating $5 million to public media. In the heavily edited, 11- minute video, Schiller told them NPR would "be better off in the long run without federal funding." Coverage by Slate's David Weigel, the Daily Caller and NPR's own news blog, The Two-Way.

Clarification: An earlier version of this post linked Schiller's departure to the video sting, but NPR denies the connection. "[W]e weren't aware there was a video until this morning," said NPR's Dana Davis Rehm. "He was in discussion with his new employer before the video was produced. He did not know he was being filmed. We did not know he was being filmed."


John Proffitt said...

Oh, the hand-wringing on this one will be epic. NPR will try to distance itself from this one, too, but it won't be able to.

Here's the deal... Losing federal funding would be GREAT for NPR in at least one respect: It could finally be direct and honest in its dealings with the world, rather than playing a cowering, self-flagellating apologizer to the Right.

Schiller's right -- there's a ton of racists in the Tea Party and related groups. But now he has to go and NPR may lose the federal battle for station funding. It's nuts.

The truth is that NPR is rabidly centrist, like Obama, and veers right at the slightest hint of controversy. It's made NPR dull and increasingly devoid of actual information.

I don't want to see federal funding drop, but the NPR that's emerged in the last 10 years doesn't feel worth saving.

Except, of course, for all the alternatives in mass media.

michvinmar said...

We can't help but watch this train wreck unfold and feel sick to our stomachs. While the fake donors are ridiculous to begin with, Ron Schiller comes off as a parody! Of course this was edited for effect, but it doesn't matter. Schiller embarrasses all of public broadcasting and does terrible damage to its cause.