James O’Keefe, the conservative video sting-masters, strikes again, this time in a damaging interview with NPR’s top fund-raiser and at the very moment that the news org is struggling to make sure that it’s federal funding remains in place.
Two of O’Keefe’s colleagues posed as members of a group with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, seeking to deliver a $5 million check to Ron Schiller, NPR’s senior vice president for development. He didn’t take the money but he did offer up some negative comments about the Tea Party, calling them “radical, racist, Islamaphobic,” as well as “gun-toting” and “racist, racist people.” But the comment that may well linger in a lobbying sense is when he says, “It is very clear that in the long run we would be better off without federal funding.”
This comes at a terrible time for NPR and also the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which already was peturbed by the clumsy way that Juan Williams was fired. Schiller already has departed NPR, which released a statement today:
“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.”
The video below, via Politico:
Damon Direct: Matt Damon fired off more criticism of President Obama. In an interview with the Independent, he said, the President has “rolled over to Wall Street completely. The economy has huge problems. We still have all these banks that are too big to fail. They’re bigger and making more money than ever. Unemployment at 10 per cent? It’s terrible.” And he also chided Obama on his education record. The only saving grace for the White House if it is looking to restore support from disaffected celebrities may be the lack of an alternative. Asked whether he would consider voting Republican, Damon said, “Good God, no! I just got a 3 per cent tax cut. Do you think I’m going to start a small business with that money? You’re out of your mind if you think so. I’m going to put it in the bank. So is every other guy that makes the kind of money I make. I don’t think that’s what’s best for the country. I think a stronger middle class makes for a stronger country.”
No Bubba: Those reports that Bill Clinton would have a cameo in “The Hangover 2” are just rumors. He’s not in it. (Vulture)
Speaking Engagements: FCC chairman Julius Genachowski will deliver a keynote speech at the annual National Assn. of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas on April 12. Al Gore will deliver the keynote to the PromaxBDA conference in late June.
Money Trail: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), facing reelection next year, raises money at the Los Angeles home of Jamie Alter and Michael Lynton on Saturday. Tickets start at $1,000.