Public broadcasting organizations distanced themselves
Wednesday from Ron Schiller, the NPR fundraising executive who resigned
this week after comments he made about fundraising, conservatives, Muslims,
Jews and others.
His resignation was followed quickly by that of NPR
President Vivian Schiller (no relation), and the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting and the Association of Public TV
Stations (APTS) wanted to make clear they were divorcing themselves from
at least one of the two Schillers.
CPB said it
condemned Ron Schiller's "unprofessional conduct and offensive
statements" and said it would "support NPR in its search for a
Chief Executive who can strengthen NPR and fulfill them.
"Recent events involving NPR officials have not
reflected the values and aspirations of public broadcasting. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is committed to fair,
balanced, objective, and transparent journalism that reflects a variety of viewpoints," said CPB.
"The Corporation is committed to editorial standards that clearly separate
decisions about content from financial or political considerations. We
demand respect for all Americans whatever their racial or ethnic background, political belief, educational level, or
Republicans are trying to zero out funding for CPB
both as a budget-cutting measure and in response to NPR's firing of Juan
Williams over comments he made that he was nervous around people in airports
wearing traditional muslim garb.
Schiller's comments and that of an associate were captured
on a hidden camera by a sting operation featuring a fictitious Muslim
group offering to give millions to NPR. It was masterminded by conservative
activist James O'Keefe.
APTS called the comments of Ron Schiller
"indefensible and reprehensible" and said that "in no way do
they reflect the philosophy of the thousands of people in public
broadcasting who are committed to providing a civil forum for in-depth, objective
reporting and discussions of public issues at the local, national and
But APTS was not ready to bail dump on the other
Schiller. In fact, APTS President Patrick Butler led his statement with
the assessment that Vivian Schiller had "led her organization to new
heights of news coverage, audience growth and financial strength," and
wished her well "in the next chapter of her remarkable career."
CPB is periodically
targeted by Republicans for cuts or elimination. It oversees the approximately
10-15% of station budgets government funding constitutes. But in the current
economic slump, even some Democrats have raised the issue of cuts, though the
President's budget actually increases funding.