NPR CEO Vivian Schiller resigns after fundraiser Ron Schiller caught on video insulting Tea Party
Wednesday, March 9, 2011; 1:54 PM
NPR CEO Vivian Schiller resigned Wednesday after fellow executive Ron Schiller was caught on a hidden camera badmouthing Tea Party members. As Paul Farhi reported:
Vivian Schiller, the embattled chief executive of NPR, resigned from the organization Wednesday, one day after an embarrassing video surfaced of another NPR executive disparaging conservatives.
Schiller's resignation is effective immediately, according to a statement from NPR's board of directors.
The sudden announcement came after officials from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and members of NPR's board conferred last night about the fallout from the revelation on Tuesday of a surreptitiously recorded video of NPR Foundation president Ron Schiller (no relation to Vivian Schiller). The video, made by conservative activist James O'Keefe, shows Ron Schiller calling Republicans and members of the tea party movement "xenophobic" and "racist" and saying that NPR would prefer to do without subsidies provided by the federal government.
Executive Ron Schiller made those disparaging statements at a luncheon with operatives working for conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe. As Paul Farhi explained:
Schiller and another NPR fundraiser, Betsy Liley, believed that that two of O'Keefe's operatives were representatives of a Muslim philanthropy. The video was shot at Cafe Milano in Georgetown during a lunch meeting set up to discuss a $5 million contribution to NPR by the equally fictitious Muslim Education Action Center, which one of the men tells the NPR executives is connected with the Muslim Brotherhood, a political organization with suspected ties to terrorists.
On the video, Schiller says: "The tea party is fanatically involved in people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian - I wouldn't even call it Christian. It's this weird evangelical kind of movement."
He adds that "tea party people" aren't "just Islamophobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people."
He goes on to say that NPR "would be better off in the long run without federal funding."
NPR's Board of Directors released a statement on CEO Vivial Schiller's resignation. Here is a selection:
"The Board accepted her resignation with understanding, genuine regret, and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years.
"Vivian brought vision and energy to this organization. She led NPR back from the enormous economic challenges of the previous two years. She was passionately committed to NPR's mission, and to stations and NPR working collaboratively as a local-national news network.
"According to a CEO succession plan adopted by the Board in 2009, Joyce Slocum, SVP of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, has been appointed to the position of Interim CEO. The Board will immediately establish an Executive Transition Committee that will develop a timeframe and process for the recruitment and selection of new leadership.
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