Ron Schiller, the chief fund-raiser for NPR caught on video bashing the Tea Party, is out of a job “effectively immediately,” the news org says. He announced last week, before the video was released, that he’d be leaving his job to take a position at the Aspen Institute in Colorado.
As I wrote earlier, while Schiller’s comments about the Tea Party may have caused a furor among those activists, it was another comment he made, the NPR would be better off without federal funding, that is providing grist for Capitol Hill Republicans who oppose federal funding of public broadcasting.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor today released this statement: “This video clearly highlights the fact that public broadcasting doesn’t need taxpayer funding to thrive, and I hope that admission will lead to a bipartisan consensus to end these unnecessary federal subsidies.”
NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm issued a more extensive statement, also focused on the funding remark:
“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 whole.
“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.”
NPR CEO Vivian Schiller told NPR’s David Folkenflik, “In no way shape or form do they reflect what NPR does and who NPR is. 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.”
Cantor’s entire statement is below: