Videographer James O’Keefe, who combines the techniques of Candid Camera’s Alan Funt with his own conservative activism, has targeted ACORN and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and now has added National Public Radio to the list. The specific target was former NPR exec Ron Schiller, no relation to NPR leader Vivian Schiller.
Ron Schiller was formerly head of the NPR Foundation, and he was lured to a lunch with two O’Keefe colleagues posing as Muslim activists who wished to make a sizable donation to NPR.
During the course of the meal, Schiller made disparaging comments about members of the Tea Party, and said that the NPR didn’t need federal money and would be better off without it.
Schiller had announced plans to move on to a position with the Aspen Institute before this incident broke.
NPR issued a statement at the request of blog TPMMuckraker, which noted that donations offered by the pranksters were turned down, but still expressing apologies for Schiller’s statements. NPR said, “The fraudulent organization represented in this video repeatedly pressed us to accept a $5 million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept. We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for. Mr. Schiller announced last week that he is leaving NPR for another job.”
NPR is facing the threat of losing funding from Republicans on Capitol Hill. The incident has given fuel to add full-throated opposition to NPR from members of the Tea Party. TPM quoted an email sent to supporters by Tea Party Patriot exec Mark Meckler, who wrote, “Mr. Schiller himself candidly admits in the video that NPR doesn’t need federal funding, and welcomes the opportunity to slant their reporting without the oversight of the taxpayer. At a time when the country is upside down by more than a trillion dollars, can we really afford to provide huge subsidies to entities that openly state that they don’t need the money? Let’s take his advice and pass legislation that would defund the clearly biased news organization that is out of touch with Americans across the country.”
A video of the incident, available for viewing below, has been made available by O’Keefe’s Project Veritas.
RBR-TVBR observation: NPR has strongly in its favor the fact that it did not accept any money from the bogus donors, and most times Schiller’s remarks could be brushed off as the unfortunate utterings of one former employee. But these are not most times. Instead, it just adds one problem for an organization that was already dealing with plenty of them.