Tuesday, March 08, 2011

In Video: NPR Exec Slams Tea Party, Questions Need For Federal Funds

From The two-way, NPR.org's news blog has an updated-every-few-minutes story on ex-executive Ron Schiller, who was wee tad indiscrete on tape- most recent update from CEO Vivian Schiller: "In no way shape or form do they reflect what NPR does and who NPR is," NPR' chief tells Folkenflik in his report for today's All Things Considered. "I find it affront to the journalists that we have around the world — including in hot spots — in harm's way. This is NOT what NPR stands for." Here's the highlights video:

The full version, with context, is here. It should be understood from the beginning that NPR acted properly in trying to vet the organization, and refusing to accept their donation when it looked hinky. What's upsetting people is the personal views expressed by the NPR executives.


UPDATE: Two new items this morning- an update from The two-way, and the Washington Post reports that NPR CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation to Ron Schiller) has resigned.

14 comments:

Chalicechick said...

Shrug. Personal views are personal views. And as for fund raising professionals saying, essentially, "We as an organization can't publicly support what you're saying, but I, of course am totally with you as any intelligent person would be," and/or repeating what the donor has just said back to them without making any promises on behalf of the organization, that's kinda the job. I'm glad NPR didn't take the money, but this is more a "laws and sausages" view of how all fund raising is done than anything specific to NPR.

CC
who said a lot of things she didn't necessarily agree with as a congressional fundraiser too. The only time I was ever "outed" as a moderate was when a performer we'd hired for an event saw me cutting the rings from soda cans so that animals wouldn't get trapped in them. He said he'd played a lot of political events and only Democrats did that. I said I didn't know what he was talking about and that there's no inherent conflict in being conservative and wanting conservation. Because I was on the clock.

Joel Monka said...

Yeah, I figured it for a sausage deal, which is why I made sure to note that NPR acted properly. NPR is in fact giving a tutorial other organizations should pay close attention to in handling PR problems. I first saw the story on their site- they posted it before the right wing blogs did. They did a feature piece about it on Morning Edition- audio recording in the update I posted. They made no attempt to say, "What he really meant was..."

I think that Schiller, however, went farther than was appropriate even for a fundraiser. In your example, you only stated the obvious- many conservatives are conservationists. But some of Schiller's lines, like "Obviously the newspapers are controlled by Jews, but not NPR" were an unneccessarily enthusiastic endorsement of the client's views, as was the comment about Republicans wanting to throw them into concentration camps. Poor judgement if they were playing along, kind of chilling if they were genuine sentiments.

Chalicechick said...

It seems like they are so obviously what the client would want to hear that I tend to think that they were probably insincere sentiments, but I agree with what you have to say here.

I really don't like NPR anyway and I never listen to them but I'm glad they've handled this as well as they have.

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who understands that some conservatives want conservation, though she certainly thinks a lot more of them are willing to cut major conservation corners for the sake of economic development. But she would be completely fine with that by 9am tomorrow morning if there were an employer renting her opinion right now.

Bill Baar said...

Defund 'em

Atlanta Roofing said...

Find it shocking and more than a little nutty that Valerie Schiller is forced to give up her job because of a personal opinion expressed by a former employee. Are all CEOs responsibl¬e for the personal opinions of former staff? If so, that's going to be one long line at the unemployme¬nt office.

Atlanta Roofing said...

Find it shocking and more than a little nutty that Valerie Schiller is forced to give up her job because of a personal opinion expressed by a former employee. Are all CEOs responsibl¬e for the personal opinions of former staff? If so, that's going to be one long line at the unemployme¬nt office.

Tracie H said...

RE: "Are all CEOs responsible for the personal opinions of former staff? If so, that's going to be one long line at the unemployment office."

Agreed.

Joel Monka said...

The people that need to be asked that question are the NPRboard of directors- they made the decision.

Chalicechick said...

Another update:

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/another-reason-never-to-trust-edited-video-from-james-okeefe/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OTB+%28Outside+The+Beltway+|+OTB%29&utm_content=Twitter

That's a messy link, can post a better on when I'm at a computer, but suffice to say there was some creative editing.

Joel Monka said...

His history of editing was why I made sure to include a link to the whole two hours.

Chalicechick said...

Right, but most of us don't have two hours. For example, you don't because you called quote about newspapers being run by the Jews one of "Schiller's lines." The edited video implies that Schiller said that, but the phrasing you quote as Schiller's was actually O'Keefe's.

Even Conservative sources are calling O'Keefe out on that one: "Unfairly, O‘Keefe puts Schiller’s response under the heading, “Jews Own the Newspapers, Obviously.” That’s not what he said at all. He said that there is Jewish influence at papers that are owned by Jews. That’s a far cry from saying “Jews own the newspapers, obviously.” In fact, Schiller’s associate, Betsy Liley, even mentions that NPR is funded in part by a Jewish organization. That doesn’t seem to be placating anti-Semitism."

Anyway, this is the link I tried to post from my phone. It quotes from the source above and goes into how the NPR folks were basically following the lead of those they were trying to get money from and that Schiller's quotes in isolation don't tell the whole story and might not even be things he actually said.

They link to a lady who writes for Glenn Beck's Huffington Post knockoff talking about how the edited video splices together bits of the conversation to make Schiller sound like opinions he was attributing to somebody else were actually his own.

As a bonus, there's a nice still of James O'Keefe in the pimp outfit that had me first questioning whether anyone who worked with poor people could possibly have taken him seriously.

FWIW, I'm of two minds on NPR losing its federal funding, but I think I want them to keep it because I don't want them to become even more irritatingly partisan. I don't like Fox News' games with the truth, but I'm sure I'd like a liberal version even less though I would in theory be more likely to agree with it.

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Chalicechick said...

Grr, I think blogger just ate my comment.

Suffice to say, we don't all have time to watch the two hour version, but those who did noticed that the quote you yourself attribute to Schiller is really O'Keefe's distortion of what Schiller actually said and there's a lot more stuff like that.

Here's a cleaner version of the link I tried to post from my phone.

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Joel Monka said...

Actually, I come closer to quoting Schiller's exact words than The Blaze does- watch from 8:09-8:29 above. He is responding to talk of "Zionist influence", and says- exact transcript:
"I don't actually find it at NPR."

"What exactly?"

"The Zionist or pro-Israel even among funders..."

"Nobody really?"

"No. I mean it's there in those who own newspapers, obviously, but no one owns NPR. So actually, I don't find it."

Chalicechick said...

I find it hard to make out exactly what is being said given that there's some mumbling and interrupting. But going with your words I certainly don't see "pro-Israel" bias among those who own newspapers as equivalent to the newspapers being "controlled by the Jews, obviously."

Indeed, given that the Nation of Israel is one of America's closest allies and the Palestinians can't even rule themselves without electing Hamas and descending into Civil War, it would be weird if most newspapers weren't "Zionist" by a Conservative Muslim's definition. I really don't have a problem with Schiller admitting that, even if he does a little dance with the fact that NPR's "owners" can't believe that since NPR doesn't have "owners."

Anyway, "Controlled by the Jews, obviously" are still O'Keefe's words, not Schiller's. But I suspect that a survey of Americans who had read about this story would lead to an overwhelming number of people crediting the words to Schiller, not O'Keefe.

O'Keefe's lies win again.

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