NPR Exec: NPR Would Be Better Off Without Federal Support
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
As NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik reports, the remarks were captured as part of a video sting by conservative activist James O'Keefe, at a time when public broadcasting is under assault.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Ron Schiller's remarks were, at times, contemptuous of conservatives.
M: The current Republican Party, in particular the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian - and I wouldn't even call it Christian. It's this weird, evangelical move.
FOLKENFLIK: Schiller also told the prospective donors that NPR would be better without federal money, to avoid political meddling.
M: NPR would definitely survive, and most of the stations would survive.
FOLKENFLIK: The two Schillers are not related.
M: In no way, shape or form do they reflect what NPR does, and who NPR is. In fact, I find it an affront to the journalists that we have working around the world, including in hot spots, in harm's way. This is not what NPR stands for.
FOLKENFLIK: Tucker Carlson, founder of the conservative Daily Caller, says officials suck up to prospective donors all the time. But Carlson said...
M: Schiller was living down to the conservative stereotype of an NPR executive: sneering, arrogant, utterly dismissive of views not his own. I mean, if you were to cast a character in the right-wing fever dream of NPR executive, it would be this guy.
FOLKENFLIK: The amount of federal dollars NPR receives directly is modest, but most member stations rely on the federally funded corporation for public broadcasting for significantly more. Carlson says that's why the story is newsworthy.
M: I actually send money to NPR. I send money to public radio in Maine because I like it. I mean, that's my choice. But as soon as you take it from me by force, then I should have some say over what you do - or you at least shouldn't be allowed to completely dismiss my views.
FOLKENFLIK: At NPR, Vivian Schiller said the vetting process after the lunch raised the right questions, and officials denied the two ostensible donors' repeated requests to be photographed delivering a check.
M: Their address was a UPS store with a post office box. We couldn't find any records of their 501 - 3 status. We could not find any records of their tax-exempt status. We could find none of their 990 reports.
FOLKENFLIK: David Folkenflik, NPR News.
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