This story’s taking on a life of its own. After blogging the story, NPR’s CEO was ousted. See updates below.
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I don’t meet high-powered media executives in upscale restaurants to discuss Big Things, so the snobbish anti-Semitism you’ll see in the undercover video below is something I’d only hear about.
NPR fundraisers Betsy Liley and Ron Schiller (the latter’s already fired) were caught on tape pandering to two people posing as members of a fictitious Muslim Brotherhood front group. The meeting was ostensibly to discuss a $5 million donation, because “Zionist coverage is quite substantial elsewhere.”
You’ll hear them discuss Jewish media ownership, Zionist donors, and joke about NPR standing for National Palestine Radio. You’ll also hear provocative comments about NPR’s federal funding, Juan Williams, uneducated Americans, the Tea Party, and more as they enjoy Cafe Milano‘s fine dining.
What disturbs me most is where NPR was prepared to turn for money. “Ibrahim Kasaam” and “Amir Malik” identified themselves as representing the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) Trust, and told Schiller and Liley straight up that MEAC was a Muslim Brotherhood front.
I wonder if NPR has real foreign donors we should be concerned about.
So far as NPR’s concerned, the real damage control is more about taxpayer money, not Jewish or Arab money. What probably made Schiller untenable for NPR was when he said:
“Frankly, it is clear that in the long run we would be better off without federal funding.”
UPDATE 2:05 pm: A statement on NPR’s blog — which stressed that Schiller wasn’t involved in editorial decisions and that it never accepted a check — condemned his comments:
We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for.
The blog includes Schiller’s apology, which also clears some confusion about his job status:
While the meeting I participated in turned out to be a ruse, I made statements during the course of the meeting that are counter to NPR’s values and also not reflective of my own beliefs. I offer my sincere apology to those I offended. I resigned from NPR, previously effective May 6th, to accept another job. In an effort to put this unfortunate matter behind us, NPR and I have agreed that my resignation is effective today.
Finally, I’m glad to see on that NPR blog that the network does some vetting of donors:
CEO Vivian Schiller tells David that NPR became aware of those peculiarities, and that NPR was vetting the organization. And he has obtained e-mails (not from an official NPR source, but which have been verified by NPR) showing that the network last week asked the fictitious Ibrahim Kasaam for, among other things, verification that the Muslim Education Action Center was qualified as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It was not, of course.
I’m still concerned that NPR fundraisers would entertain the notion of accepting such large donations from anyone billing itself as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. Sounds too much like those silly Zionist media conspiracies we hear about from time to time.
UPDATE 4:40 pm: NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik, tweets that the network’s board of directors ousted CEO, Vivian Schiller (no relation to Ron). They’re clearly worried about the federal funding issue.
UPDATE 6:48 pm: Before this sorry incident, Schiller (Ron) was due to simply leave NPR for a similar position at the Aspen Institute. That plan’s up in smoke.