National Public Radio, or NPR as we commonly know it, may have hit a stumbling block this week. Two individuals from James O’Keefe’s “The Project Veritas” were able to get a sit down lunch with NPR Executives, Senior Executive Ron Schiller and NPR’s Director of Institutional Giving Betsy Liley. The men from Project Veritas went undercover as two potential contributors from a fictitious organization tied to the Muslim Brotherhood called the Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) Trust. Using the names “Ibrahim Kasaam” and “Amir Malik”, the men were able to engage the NPR execs in dialog about conservatives, the Tea Party, Jewish donations to media outlets that support a pro-Jewish agenda, Juan Williams, and the coup de gras… that NPR doesn’t really need Federal money assistance to survive. And it was all caught on tape…
Ron Schiller first made some telling remarks about Republicans and the Tea Party, “The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian – I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird evangelical kind of move.” He then went on to say…
From The Daily Caller: “The Republican Party, Schiller says, has been “hijacked by this group.” The man posing as Malik finishes the sentence by adding, “the radical, racist, Islamophobic, Tea Party people.” Schiller agrees and intensifies the criticism, saying that the Tea Party people aren’t “just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”
Pretty slanted language for a non-biased media service as CEO Vivian Schiller(no relation to Ron Schiller) just went on record saying that bias was a “perception issue.” Vivian claims that NPR relies on government funding as the “cornerstone of public media” even going so far as to say, “We rely on continued government funding. Grants to stations for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting represent on average 10 percent of the public radio station economy… It is not the largest share of revenue, but it is a critical cornerstone of public media.” Vivian was quoted as saying at the National Press Club in Washington DC yesterday. It sure seems like there is a discrepancy in what one Executive is saying on the record and another is saying in a private lunch engagement.
Vivian is also quoted as saying that NPR will always avoid becoming a “commercial enterprise”… “We have no plans, and will not have any plans, to become a commercial enterprise,” she said. “It’s really part of a tacit pact that we have with our listeners that we are not for profit, non-commercial, independent news and information.”
So, back to Ron Schiller and Betsy Liley… The “representatives” from MEAC were offering in the neighborhood of $5 Million as a donation to NPR and in the interest of appearing as a legitimate organization, a website was even set up to represent MEAC Trust. You can view it HERE… (feel free to surf it a bit because as you do, you will see that the ruse is revealed on the website.) MEAC’s website has a sidebar outlining the mission of the group,
“Islam requires that every Muslim observe and live under Divine Law, yet many cultures are not receptive to this life. Many Muslims are prohibited from governing themselves under the principles of their own faith. We must combat intolerance to spread acceptance of Sharia across the world.“(emphasis mine)
Ron Schiller must not be a true liberal because as he says, “In my personal opinion, liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives,” yet he got duped by these two guys fronting for a made up organization. To be fair, even Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs fell for this one: http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/01/your-future-a-servant-of-islam.html so the comparison between who is smarter just fell apart there, Mr. Schiller. Why Schiller misses the boat on this ploy must also explain why he has no qualms about taking funding from a Muslim Brotherhood front group, as Kasaam tells him: “Our organization was originally founded by a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood in America actually.”
There was a moment of humor for the lunch group when Kasaam said that he and his friends refer to NPR as standing for National Palestine Radio which got laughs from the NPR Execs. Liley even said that she liked that. Expressing a measure of satisfaction that their contribution could mean less money coming from Jew influences, Kasaam says that they’re “not too upset about maybe a little bit less Jew influence of money into NPR.” This draws an unusual response from Schiller, saying that he doesn’t find “Zionist or pro-Israel” ideas at NPR, “even among funders. I mean it’s there in those who own newspapers, obviously, but no one owns NPR.”
There was discussion over the firing of Juan Williams during the meeting.
“At the Café Milano lunch, Schiller said he’s “very proud of” how NPR fired Juan Williams. “What NPR stood for is non-racist, non-bigoted, straightforward telling of the news and our feeling is that if a person expresses his or her opinion, which anyone is entitled to do in a free society, they are compromised as a journalist,” he said. “They can no longer fairly report.”
With that, Schiller once again directly contradicted NPR’s public statements. At her Monday press conference, Vivian Schiller apologized for the way it handled the Williams matter. “We handled the situation badly,” she said. “We acted too hastily and we made some mistakes. I made some mistakes.”
The well-reported firing came with some interesting videos that were revealed which call into question what Ron Schiller deems to be, “non-racist, non-bigoted, straightforward telling of the news and our feeling is that if a person expresses his or her opinion, which anyone is entitled to do in a free society, they are compromised as a journalist.” One such video would be of Nina Totenberg appearing on Inside Washington back on July 8, 1995…
That sure does sound like an NPR-employed journalist expressing a potentially bigoted opinion that should compromise their ability to fairly report as a journalist. Nina is still employed at NPR and still appears on Inside Washington expressing her opinions to this day.
The most interesting exchange(and the reason that I brought up comments from Vivian Schiller earlier) comes when Schiller states,
“Well frankly, it is clear that we would be better off in the long-run without federal funding,” he says. “The challenge right now is that if we lost it all together we would have a lot of stations go dark.”
When one of O’Keefe’s associates asked, “How confident are you, with all the donors that are available, if they should pull the funding right now that you would survive?,” Schiller answered this way: “Yes, NPR would definitely survive and most of the stations would survive.”(emphasis mine)
This again is in stark contrast to Vivian Schiller’s comments. So, let’s take a look at federal funding to NPR… The Federal government makes money available to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting(CPB) who then in turn redistributes the money out to NPR, PBS, and member stations(both radio and television). NPR receives approximately $90 Million from the Federal government if you listen to Ron Schiller. If you go to NPR.org, the website states that Federal funding amounts to “2% of NPR’s overall revenues” which makes it hard to distinguish the difference between “revenues” and funding because Mr. Schiller said $90 Million amounts to 10% of the $800 Million total economy of NPR. That seems to be a serious discrepancy and something that could be simply lost on the language used by NPR’s website. One other pie chart uses the term “Revenues” and it shows that 5.8% of the total revenues coming into NPR come from Federal, State, and Local Government.
Regardless, that money does not come “directly” from Federal funding. Remember that the money goes to CPB first, who then doles out the money. In 2010 alone, $420 Million went to CPB for redistribution to waiting open hands. The money that is given to member stations is then used by them to pay “member dues” to NPR and to purchase licensing rights to NPR programs and airtime usage. On top of that, money goes to NPR from other Federal outlets such as the Department of Commerce and the Department of Education as well as the National Endowment for the Arts. So effectively, it is hard to trace the total and true amount of money from the federal coffers that makes it into NPR hands. It seems like one large shell game at this point.
One last point of note here while we are discussing funding and unscrupulous behavior from NPR… NPR paid their President Emeritus $1.2 Million in 2009. This raises a load of questions such as who paid his salary? Was it the taxpayers? Liberal organizations? Foreign contributors in the likeness of MEAC Trust? Either way, it is apparently clear that there are serious ethics problems in an organization that receives taxpayer money that claims to have NO BIAS whatsoever.
Last minute addition: NPR responds to the report and video…
“The fraudulent organization represented in this video repeatedly pressed us to accept a $5 million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept,” Davis Rehm said in an e-mail to The Daily Caller. “We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for.”
Also, NPR referenced Schiller’s recently announced departure for the Aspen Institute. “Mr. Schiller announced last week that he is leaving NPR for another job,” Davis Rehm said.
NPR Media Reporter David Folkenflik tweeted that means, “Therefore, according to NPR, departure of fundraising exec Ron Schiller for Aspen Inst. was unrelated to the sting by James O’Keefe.”