NPR places Schiller on administrative leave over O'Keefe video; Update: Juan Williams rips NPR

Actually, it’s unclear whether he’s on leave or has been canned. A 5:25 p.m. update says “Today, his departure was made effective immediately,” but a new update 10 minutes later he’s suspended pending review. Either way, please, by all means, let’s continue to pretend that Schiller said something bizarre and aberrant for an NPR exec. Granted, no one believes that; he behaved exactly, but exactly, the way you’d expect a liberal bien-pensant at public radio to behave. But we need confidence in our media institutions, so on we go with the charade that chitchat about racist tea partiers and the Zionist media has shocked his colleagues to the core.


I haven’t been this stunned and hurt since I found out Keith Olbermann was donating to Democrats.

“The comments contained in the video released today are contrary to everything we stand for, and we completely disavow the views expressed. NPR is fair and open minded about the people we cover. Our reporting reflects those values every single day — in the civility of our programming, the range of opinions we reflect and the diversity of stories we tell.

“The assertion that NPR and public radio stations would be better off without federal funding does not reflect reality. The elimination of federal funding would significantly damage public broadcasting as a whole.

“Prior to the lunch meeting presented in the edited video, Ron Schiller had informed NPR that he was resigning from his position to take a new job. His resignation was announced publicly last week, and he was expected to depart in May. While we review this situation, he has been placed on administrative leave.”

I’d have more respect for them if they went the full Sheen and embraced their bad behavior. Have Vivian Schiller walk out at a presser wearing an Obama button and waving a machete and declare, “I’m tired of pretending we’re not special.” Sure, the GOP will defund NPR for it, but they’re probably going to do that anyway. A new statement from Eric Cantor:

“As we continue to identify ways to cut spending and save valuable resources, this disturbing video makes clear that taxpayer dollars should no longer be appropriated to NPR. Not only have top public broadcasting executives finally admitted that they do not need taxpayer dollars to survive, it is also clear that without federal funds, public broadcasting stations self-admittedly would become eligible for more private dollars on top of the multi-million dollar donations these organizations already receive.

“At a time when our government borrows 40 cents of every dollar that it spends, we must find ways to cut spending and live within our means. This video clearly highlights the fact that public broadcasting doesn’t need taxpayer funding to thrive, and I hope that admission will lead to a bipartisan consensus to end these unnecessary federal subsidies.”


Actually, the House already voted to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting last month. The significance of today’s video is that it might force Republicans to go to the mat on including that in a budget deal when, not if, Reid demands that it be taken out. Democrats would have been in good position to resist otherwise, insisting that CPB’s money is peanuts in the grand scheme of things and shouldn’t be a stumbling block to a broader budget compromise. After the video, though? I don’t know. Giving up on the CPB defunding would have been hard for Republicans to do under any circumstance with tea partiers watching them. After today, it may be impossible.

Update: He told you so.

“This was an act of incredible condescension,” said Williams. “The rank hypocrisy of his remarks was telling for me. They will say things to your face about how there’s no liberal orthodoxy at NPR, how they play it straight, but now you see it for what it is. They prostitute themselves for money.”

Williams said Schiller’s remarks about the Jews dominating the newspaper industry was “outright anti-Semitism,” and labeling Tea Party members “gun-toting” “racists” reveals “their real feelings.” This is how they talk in boardrooms and editorial meetings, explained Williams. “This is how they really feel.”

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