I reported last night on the latest operation mounted by James O’Keefe and Project Veritas. Two of Mr. O’Keefe’s colleagues approached NPR pretending to represent a Muslim Brotherhood front group, and offered to donate money. As I mentioned last night, the notable thing about the resulting hidden-camera video was the matter-of-fact way in which the two NPR executives accepted an approach from the Muslim Brotherhood, as if it were their normal way of doing business.
In MSM articles about the Project Veritas sting on NPR, James O’Keefe is variously referred to as a “prankster”, a “sting artist”, and a “political activist”. None of those descriptives does justice to his latest effort, however — he has now brought down the CEO of National Public Radio and may have hastened the end of federal funding for the organization. That’s quite an achievement for such a young kid.
Here’s an overview from The Christian Science Monitor:
NPR chief executive officer Vivian Schiller resigned Wednesday in the wake of a sting video that showed fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) criticizing Jews and disparaging conservatives, the tea party movement, and former NPR political analyst Juan Williams, whose firing in October may have set into motion one of the most tumultuous eras in NPR’s 41-year history.
James O’Keefe, the controversial conservative sting artist behind the ACORN “pimp videos,” said Mr. Williams’s firing in October sparked the latest sting operation, in which two actors posing as representatives of a Muslim Brotherhood front group met with Mr. Schiller, a fundraising vice president, to discuss making a $5 million gift to NPR.
The departures of Vivian Schiller and Ron Schiller — and the reason behind them — may further damage NPR’s reputation as a public-service broadcaster and could threaten taxpayer support of NPR, which indirectly comes to about $90 million a year.
NPR reporter David Folkenflik said on-air Wednesday that Ms. Schiller was “forced out,” a hint that the organization wants to jettison its leadership and set a new direction.
“I recognize the magnitude of this news — and that it comes on top of what has been a traumatic period for NPR and the larger public radio community,” said Dave Edwards, chairman of NPR’s Board of Directors, in a statement Wednesday morning. “The Board is committed to supporting NPR through this interim period and has confidence in NPR’s leadership team.”
Ms. Schiller is not the only casualty of the Project Veritas video: Ron “no relation of Vivian” Schiller has been forced to abandon his new job with the Aspen Institute before he even managed to warm the chair cushion. According to Newser:
The fallout from the conservative sting of NPR continues: The departing exec caught on tape calling Tea Party supporters racist is out of the job he was about to take, reports David Weigel at Slate. “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.”
The Atlantic is speculating whether the O’Keefe sting will be the straw that finally breaks the funding for the NPR camel. However, it’s important to remember that only 1%-2% of NPR’s funding comes directly from federal government. Much of the federal largesse received by NPR is laundered through foundations and NGOs before it enriches the programming on “All Leftist Things Considered” and “Morning Sedition”.
What we really need is a thorough housecleaning of all government funding channeled to non-profit organizations. But that’s not likely to happen before the dollar finishes collapsing.
The NPR Blog acknowledges the impact that the whole sordid mess has had on the organization:
Vivian Schiller, NPR’s CEO and president since January 2009, left that job today in the wake of the second high-profile controversy to hit the organization in the past six months.
Dave Edwards, chairman of NPR’s board, said directors came to the conclusion that the controversies under Schiller’s watch had become such a distraction that she could no longer effectively lead the organization. She had told the directors that they should take the action they felt was appropriate, and Edwards said the board decided it would be best for her to depart.
The controversies in recent months that led to Schiller’s departure have given NPR’s critics opportunities to accuse it of liberal bias and to push for elimination of any federal funding for public broadcasting:
- Tuesday, a videotape surfaced of then-NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) slamming conservatives and questioning whether NPR needs federal funding. His comments were secretly recorded by men posing as members of a Muslim organization (they were working with political activist James O’Keefe on a “sting”).
- Last fall, NPR dismissed news analyst Juan Williams after he said on Fox News Channel (where he was also a paid contributor) that he gets nervous when he sees people in “Muslim garb” on an airplane. Williams went on to say it’s wrong to profile or sterotype [sic] anyone based on their appearance, but NPR said it was the latest in a series of comments he had made that violated NPR’s standards. The handling of his dismissal and the controversy surrounding it ultimately led to the resignation of NPR’s top news executive at the time, Ellen Weiss.
This is turning into a more entertaining spectacle than I originally thought it would be. I can’t wait to see which domino is next to topple.
Hat tip: Zenster.