Many have offered their perspectives on our recent decision regarding Juan Williams and the way we handled it. Thanks for coming to our blog to hear from us directly.
Last week we ended Juan Williams' contract based on unique circumstances. As we've said in other venues, his comments on Fox News on October 18 were the latest in a series of deeply troubling incidents over several years. In each of those instances, the episode was discussed with him. He was asked to respect NPR's standards and to avoid expressing strong personal opinions on controversial subjects in public settings, as that is inconsistent with his role as an NPR news analyst. After this latest incident, we felt compelled to act. Reasonable people can and do disagree about the timing: whether we should have ended our relationship with Juan earlier, on the occasion of other incidents; or whether this final episode warranted immediate termination of his contract.
We deeply regret how we handled the process that followed our decision — including not meeting with Juan Williams in person. NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller has taken personal responsibility for the way this was handled, and we've apologized for our mistakes. We're reviewing what happened, and we will learn from it.
In recent days, we've been asked how NPR and our stations are funded. There's a lot of misinformation in the media and blogosphere about how and where we get our support.
1. Dues and programming fees from our member stations, corporate sponsorship, and grants/gifts are NPR's primary sources of revenue.
2. NPR, Inc. has received no direct operating support from the federal government since 1983, though about 2% of our annual budget typically comes from competitive grants that are federally funded.
3. Federal funding is critical to public radio as a whole. NPR stations receive federal funding via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and public radio as you know it today will not be possible if that is cut. A reduction or elimination of federal funding for public broadcasting will hurt individual public radio stations.
You can find a detailed overview of how (and where) NPR and our stations get our funding in our "About" section: http://www.npr.org/about/aboutnpr/
In the meantime, thanks for taking the time to read this post.