No, this isn’t Vivian Schiller, the NPR boss who hinted that maybe Williams should talk to his shrink about his unfathomable mental association between Muslims, airplanes, and terrorism. The resignee is Ellen Weiss, Schiller’s underling, who did the honors of telling Williams that his services at NPR would no longer be required. (Schiller got off easily by comparison; she’ll merely receive no bonus this year.) NPR wants you to believe that Weiss’s departure is completely unconnected to the results of its internal investigation into Williams’s firing, even though (a) not only are both being announced on the same day, they’re being addressed in the same post on NPR’s own website, and (b) the news comes just one day after the new budget-conscious Republican House was sworn in. Is NPR finally ready to explore ideological diversity as a way to keep the federal money flowing? Here’s a choice passage from the Board of Directors’ review:
Specifically, the Board adopted recommendations that NPR:
“— Establish a committee comprised of NPR personnel, respected journalists, and others from outside NPR to review and update NPR’s current Ethics Code (the “Code”)…
“— Ensure that its practices encourage a broad range of viewpoints to assist its decision-making, support its mission, and reflect the diversity of its national audiences. The Human Resources Committee of the Board is working in conjunction with key members of NPR management on this issue.
The money line from Williams’s reaction is calling Weiss “the keeper of the flame of liberal orthodoxy [at] NPR,” so I’m guessing maybe one problem with keeping her on was that a “broad range of viewpoints” isn’t exactly at the top of her to-do list. Exit question: On a scale of 1 to 100, what are the odds that NPR is serious this time about ideological diversity? I want to say 1, but given the defunding pressure they’re under for being a liberal house organ, I’m going to bump it all the way up to 2.