Vivian Schiller, NPR chief, resigns amid uproar over 'sting video'
Vivian Schiller, CEO of NPR, stepped down Wednesday in the wake of a sting video that showed an NPR fundraiser disparaging conservatives. With the Vivian Schiller departure, NPR is left to fight criticism that intolerance is part of its DNA.
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Williams emphasized on Tuesday his belief that NPR executives such as Ms. Schiller are “destroying” the credibility of hard-working reporters and editors who produce NPR’s on-air and Internet news and commentary.Skip to next paragraph
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Stephen Ward, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, says Mr. Schiller’s comments ultimately shouldn’t influence people’s perception of NPR as a legitimate news organization. “It doesn’t prove that NPR should stop being funded by the government just because someone speaks like this, because there are 400 people at NPR who would disagree with what he said,” says Mr. Ward.
In the video, Mr. Schiller also noted that NPR would be better off without federal funding, because the network would then have more independence and it would end confusion among potential donors about how much taxpayers actually support public radio.
NPR receives no direct funding from the government, but the Corporation for Public Broadcasting gives $90 million a year in federal funds to public radio affiliate stations throughout the US. The affiliates, in turn, use that money to buy programming from NPR. NPR says only about 2 percent of its revenues are federal dollars, but that those funds are integral to keeping public radio stations on the air, especially in rural areas. On average, 70 percent of member stations' revenues come from private sources.
It's not clear how the Schiller and Schiller departures will affect NPR's fight to retain federal funding – but it almost certainly won't help. Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that would end subsidies to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which also funds PBS, originator of “Sesame Street” and “The News Hour.” Senate Democrats likely would ultimately oppose such an effort.