NPR CEO Vivian Schiller Resigns After Hidden Camera Sting Snares Top Fundraiser


"While it might have been ideal to have every i dotted and t crossed before this meeting, often times in the process of relationship building, which can take many years in the foundation world, you might have an initial lunch with someone to find out more about their interests," an NPR spokesperson said.

Ron Schiller was accompanied at the recorded lunch by Betsy Liley, NPR senior director of institutional giving, who is on administrative leave. The two members who met with Schiller and Liley established a purported connection with the Muslim Brotherhood early on in the lunch.

Schiller is seen in the video blasting Tea Party groups and lamenting the demise of intellectualism, particularly in the GOP.

NPR swiftly condemned Ron Schiller's comments on Tuesday.

"The comments contained in the video released today are contrary to everything we stand for, and we completely disavow the views expressed," NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm said in a statement. "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 setup was the brainchild of O'Keefe, a conservative activist who has become famous for his hidden-camera videos, most recently targeted at the Census bureau.

Tea Party groups were quick to pounce.

"Mr. Schiller's latest comments provoke a larger question: How long will we as a nation be willing to tolerate the arrogance of the self-appointed ruling elite?" said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots. "His unedited comments are indicative of the mentality of ruling elites who are threatened by the power of the Tea Party Patriots."

Scandal Poses Funding Dilemma for NPR

Schiller is seen in the video saying that NPR would be better off without federal funding, and even if it were to be stripped, the organization and most of its member stations would survive.

But NPR countered that claim, saying that such a move would be significantly damaging.

"The funding is so absolutely critical to what we do as an industry and we have to articulate that in the best way possible," Edwards said today. "We have to be able to tell the story as to what we do is important, why that investment of federal dollars is important."

The House Republicans' budget would rescind any funding for CPB for the remainder of the year, and zero out millions in funds after that.

House GOP leaders have for years attempted to cut funding for what many of them see as a liberal-leaning broadcast operation. One of Newt Gingrich's first acts as speaker of the House in 1995 was to call for the elimination of federal funding for CPB, and for the privatization of public broadcasting. Neither attempt was successful.

More recently, House Republicans made a proposal in November to strip federal funding for NPR after the radio station fired controversial commentator Juan Williams for comments he made about Muslims.

Only about 2 percent of NPR's funding comes from federally funded organizations, while 40 percent of the revenue is generated through station programming fees and 26 percent through sponsorships.

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