Mar 8, 2011

Rep. Lamborn reacts to NPR sting video

Rep. Doug Lamborn, the Colorado Republican who has authored several bills to defund public broadcasting, tells the Washington Examiner that he's "amazed by the condescension and arrogance" expressed by outgoing NPR Foundation President Ron Schiller in the covertly recorded video that conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe released this morning. "They seem to be viewing themselves as elites living in an ivory tower, and they are obviously out of touch with ordinary Americans." Lamborn says he hopes the video prompts Democrats to reconsider their support for public broadcasting."I hope that once and for all we can put this issue to bed."

GOP members of Congress will help save pubcasting, APTS Butler says

APTS President Patrick Butler told The Hill today (March 8) that GOP members of Congress are signaling support for continued public broadcasting funding. "Republicans in both the House and the Senate want to stand with us and give us a good result in the end," Butler said, but declined to name individuals. "It's not going to be a unanimous vote, but I do think if there ever comes an up-or-down vote on public broadcasting itself, we'll wind up with a bipartisan majority in favor of continuing our funding." Although, he noted, "I'm not sure at what level."

Washington Times says station funding advocacy efforts are breaking laws

The conservative Washington Times says that "lawmakers and conservative critics" insist public broadcasting stations are breaking two laws with their spots alerting viewers and listeners to Congressional moves to defund pubcasting: One rule that prohibits using taxpayer funds to ask Congress for more taxpayer money, and the other that bans nonprofits from doing lobbying work. In the story, spokespersons for stations including WGBH and WETA point out that their federal funds are strictly segregated from any money spent on advocacy. Last December, APTS and NPR sent to stations rules for conducting such advocacy efforts, citing court cases establishing the legality of doing so. "The bottom line is that public stations have a First Amendment right to advocate to defend federal funding and to use their donor lists to generate support for federal funding of public broadcasting," it said in part, "subject to restrictions on the use of Federal funding and certain other restrictions . . ."

NPR says it refused donation from phony foundation

NPR issued this brief statement on the video sting released today by conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe:

"The fraudulent organization represented in this video repeatedly pressed us to accept a $5 million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept.

We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for.

Mr. Schiller announced last week that he is leaving NPR for another job."

KUNC music director jumps 42 stories to his death in Denver

Kyle Dyas, the popular music director and on-air personality at KUNC-FM in Greeley, Colo., jumped to his death from atop the 42-story Spire building in Denver on Sunday (March 6). The city's medical examiner ruled the manner of death was suicide. As of Tuesday morning, more than 200 listeners had posted remembrances on the station's website. “The two words that keep showing up (on the online posts) are ‘gentle soul,’" KUNC President Neil Best told the local Tribune newspaper. "I think in radio you can’t fool people on how you come across.” Dyas, 42, joined KUNC in 1996 as a staff announcer and became music director in 2002. He programmed KUNC’s “Diverse Music” show from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays. Plans for a memorial service are pending.

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."