The NPR board of directors just announced this morning NPR CEO and president Vivian Schiller is stepping down from her positions, effective immediately, in the wake of the Project Veritas undercover sting operation which caught senior fundraiser Ron Schiller–no relation to the newly departed CEO–saying nasty things about the Tea Party.
Board chairman Dave Edwards said in a release: “The Board accepted Vivian’s resignation with understanding, genuine regret and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years.” Joyce Slocum, NPR’s senior vice president of legal affairs, will now take over as interim CEO.
Just to put in our two cents, Schiller’s resignation strikes us as completely cowardly and unnecessary. It’s admitting some kind of sweeping wrongdoing where there is none. The sting itself isn’t what may just cost NPR its Federal funds, it’s the organization’s handling of the fallout. NPR made the immediate mistake of admitting organizational wrongdoing–calling Ron Schiller’s statements “appalling” and apologizing like they’d systematically shot the dog of every Tea Party member in the country.
Schiller’s statements weren’t appalling, they were honest. He thinks the Tea Party is racist and astroturf. So the F what? He’s a fundraiser, not senior news editor. If Schiller were talking to David Koch about a potential $5 million donation, we’re pretty sure Schiller would bring a dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged to put on his lap and quote John Galt admiringly every chance it was appropriate.
And as for Schiller’s much harped-upon notion that NPR “would be better off in the long run without federal funding,” he’s right. NPR would be better off without having to beg for federal scraps every time the Republicans get uppity. But that doesn’t mean they don’t NEED federal funding to continue news operations for most of the country. That’s what he was talking about.
Schiller, Vivian that is, was actually supposed to show up to MediaBistro’s offices today for an interview. She never showed.
Previously on Fishbowl LA: James O’Keefe Stings NPR: Fake Controversy Ensues