First, Vivian Schiller got her walking papers from NPR’s board. Now Ron Schiller, who resigned effective immediately from his position at NPR yesterday in the wake of the undercover sting video, won’t get his position at the Aspen Institute after all.
It’s hard out there for a Schiller today, as Jim Romanesko reports (via Katrina Trinko):
Aspen Institute communications director Jim Spiegelman says in an e-mail: “Ron Schiller has informed us that, in light of the controversy surrounding his recent statements, he does not feel that it’s in the best interests of the Aspen Institute for him to come work here.”
It had been suggested by Dave Weigel and others that Schiller actually represented what organizations want in a rainmaker — the ability to pander to anyone willing to write big checks. Apparently, the Aspen Institute disagrees, or at the very least wasn’t impressed enough to talk Schiller out of resigning before he even got started with them.
The question of whether this Schiller was pushed or jumped is murkier than it was in Vivian Schiller’s case, but in the end it doesn’t matter; the outcomes are the same. The decision to cut ties to both — regardless of who made those decisions — underscores the fact that the video communicated reality, both in the situation and at NPR.
Update: Jeff Dunetz has NPR’s interview with its own media correspondent David Folkenflik reasserting that the board ousted Vivian Schiller:
David Folkenflik: Well the board of directors of NPR have put out a statement saying they accepted Vivian Schiller’s resignation. I’m told by sources that she was forced out — that this was, I guess, the final shoe dropping, you could say.
The most immediate back story of course is, as you mentioned, Ron Schiller, the former senior vice president for fundraising, seemingly disparaging conservatives, something NPR executives have said is not part of our core, in fact not any part of our DNA — that we’re supposed to be a place of civility, open-mindedness, where people can hear themselves reflected in our coverage and on our air.