A future former NPR executive has given more ammunition to
Republicans looking to zero out funding for noncommercial radio.
That came after video was released of NPR senior VP of
development Ron Schiller, was videotaped saying that NPR could live without federal
funding and branding Republicans as having been hijacked by "seriously
racist" Tea Party followers.
Schiller, saying he was speaking for himself rather than
NPR, said liberals might be more fair and balanced than conservatives.
The video was part of a sting operation in which Schiller
was led to believe he was talking to a Muslim group contemplating giving NPR
Schiller said that about $90 million comes from the
government, about 10% of its budget. "We would be better off in the long
run without federal funding," he said, but also said that if that
happened all at once, a lot of stations would go dark.
Schiller said he was proud of NPR for firing Juan Williams,
who was canned after statements about being concerned when he sees Muslims
in traditional garb at airports.
In a statement, NPR senior VP of marketing Dana Davis Rehm,
said: "The comments contained in the video released today are contrary to
everything we stand for, and we completely disavow the views expressed. NPR is
fair and open minded about the people we cover. Our reporting reflects those
values every single day - in the civility of our programming, the range of
opinions we reflect and the diversity of stories we tell.
"The assertion that NPR and public radio stations would
be better off without federal funding does not reflect reality. The elimination
of federal funding would significantly damage public broadcasting as a
"Prior to the lunch meeting presented in the edited
video, Ron Schiller had informed NPR that he was resigning from his position to
take a new job. His resignation was announced publicly last week, and he was
expected to depart in May. While we review this situation, he has been placed
on administrative leave."
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), who has been pushing the
House to eliminate noncom funding,
used the video to renew that call. "I am amazed at the condescension and
arrogance that we saw in the video. They are obviously out of touch with
ordinary Americans," he said in a statement.
"The evidence is overwhelming and the video is condemning.
NPR does not need taxpayer dollars. If they, themselves, admit that they'd be
better off without federal funding, there's no need for further debate. Remove
NPR from the federal budget and be done with it," he said.