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NPR's Vivian Schiller resigns: Will the right now let public radio alone?

The ouster of NPR chief Vivian Schiller will probably not quiet conservative outrage unleashed by an uncover video. White House, by contrast, has no plans to alter its funding request for Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR.

By Staff writer / March 9, 2011

This 2008 file photo provided by National Public Radio shows Vivian Schiller. NPR says CEO Vivian Schiller has resigned in aftermath of a fundraiser's remarks on hidden video.

Michael Benabib/NPR/AP


NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller resigned under pressure on Wednesday amid a storm of negative reaction to an undercover video that showed another NPR executive denigrating tea party adherents and saying that public radio might be better off without federal funds.

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Will the ouster of Ms. Schiller quiet conservative outrage at the incident? After all, it was she who approved the firing of NPR commentator Juan Williams over comments about Muslims he made during a Fox News appearance last October. At the time, many conservatives (though not only conservatives) complained that Mr. Williams had been axed in the name of political correctness. They thought Schiller should have gotten the boot then, too.

Long answer short: No, it does not look as if Wednesday’s events will end things. If anything, it appears that Republican lawmakers now may redouble their efforts to end federal funding for public broadcasting.

The Juan Williams treatment: Five other ousted media personalities

House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia even chuckled when asked about the incident by reporters Wednesday. “Perhaps the truth finally came out,” he said.

Representative Cantor specifically mentioned that the now-former NPR executive caught in the video sting, Ron Schiller (who is no relation to Ms. Schiller), said that public radio might have more independence and be better able to raise funds from other sources if it lost its government subsidy.

“We are going to proceed along those lines because that’s what was said and indicated by that organization,” said Cantor.

Meanwhile, NPR employees were in shock in the aftermath of the video’s release, according to NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard. Ron Schiller had swept into the organization 18 months ago, hailed as an extraordinary fundraiser who might save public radio from financial woes, writes Ms. Shepard in a cri de coeur post on her blog.

“Instead of being a ‘savior,’ Schiller might well have put a stake through NPR and public radio’s financial hearts,” writes Shepard.


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