NPR Board Chair Calls Ron Schiller Comments “Repulsive,” Says Network Must Move On

March 09, 2011

The chairman of the board of NPR said the views that the network's chief fundraiser expressed to a hidden camera do not reflect the views of others at the organization.

Chairman Dave Edwards told local public radio station reporters through a conference call Wednesday that the taped and edited comments of Ron Schiller "bothered me the core." A fake Muslim group created by conservative activist James O'Keefe met with Schiller to offer a donation. They secretly recorded him referring to Tea Party supporters as racist and uneducated. Edwards, who manages public radio station WUWM in Milwaukee, said Schiller's views do not match any views he has ever heard from NPR board members, management or employees.

"I found them to be absolutely repulsive to the values that we have as an industry," Edwards said. "And we have to articulate the fact that that is not who we are ... that we welcome a variety of viewpoints and we don't discriminate against anyone's particular view or political position."

After further research, NPR grew suspicious of the group, and refused any donation. Edwards said it was typical to have such research done after a face-to-face meeting with a potential donor. He had no comment on an Associated Press report that PBS had also been contacted by the O'Keefe group, but had declined to meet with them in the first place.

The release of the secret recording of the meeting led to Ron Schiller's accelerated resignation, plus his resignation from a job he was about to take at the Aspen Institute. In addition, NPR president Vivian Schiller --- no relation --- was also forced to resign.

Edwards said Ms. Schiller was not directly responsible for the network's recent controversies, but he said NPR needs a leader who can both manage its resources and be an effective spokesperson. NPR General Counsel Joyce Slocum has been named as interim president and CEO.

Story source: WILL