So James O'Keefe's Project Veritas has made another of it's now-infamous undercover "sting" operations, this time targeting NPR. Two individuals posed as members of the fictitious Muslim Educational Action Center Trust and approached Ron Schiller and Betsy Liley under the guise of making a $5 million donation to the news organization. Over the course of their meeting at a prominent Georgetown restaurant, the two steered the conversation towards the station's opinions on the Tea Party, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the American media's treatment of Israel.
The video posted by Project Veritas:
Some notable quotations:
“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,” declared Schiller, the head of NPR’s nonprofit foundation, who last week announced his departure for the Aspen Institute.
The man posing as Malik finishes the sentence by adding, “the radical, racist, Islamaphobic, 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.”
Schiller goes on to describe liberals as more intelligent and informed than conservatives. “In my personal opinion, liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives,” he said.
At their lunch, the man posing as Kasaam told Schiller that MEAC contributes to a number of Muslim schools across the U.S. “Our organization was originally founded by a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood in America actually,” he says.
Schiller doesn’t blink. Instead, he assumes the role of fan. “I think what we all believe is if we don’t have Muslim voices in our schools, on the air,” Schiller says, “it’s the same thing we faced as a nation when we didn’t have female voices.”
When O’Keefe’s two associates pressed him into the topic, Schiller decried U.S. media coverage of Egypt’s uprising against former dictator Hosni Mubarak, especially talk of the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence on the protests and future of Egypt. Schiller said that is what he is “most disappointed by in this country, which is that the educated, so-called elite in this country is too small a percentage of the population, so that you have this very large un-educated part of the population that carries these ideas.”
When the ersatz Islamists declare they’re “not too upset about maybe a little bit less Jew influence of money into NPR,” Schiller responds by saying 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.”
Liley chimes in at this point to add that, “even one of our biggest funders who you’ll hear on air, The American Jewish World Service, may not agree with us. I visited with them recently and they may not agree with what we put on the air but they find us important to them and, sometimes it’s not that easy to hear what we say and what our reporters say, but they still think NPR is important to support.”
Schiller added that “they [the American Jewish World Service] are really looking for a fair point of view and many Jewish organizations are not.”
Later in the lunch, Schiller explains that NPR would be better positioned free of federal funding. “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.”
- NPR's initial response to the story can be found here.
- As of today, NPR's CEO Vivian Schiller has tendered her resignation following two years of service as the news organization's head. Ron Schiller is also no longer accepting his new position at the Aspen Institute.
All this comes as NPR is at the center of a national debate over Republican efforts
to defund public broadcasting
, originally prompted by the firing of Juan Williams
in January over comments he made about Muslims while on Fox News.
This thread is for discussing the recent "sting" against NPR execs, their handling of this and the Juan Williams scandal, and the current debate over public funding of the organization. I'll continue to update the OP with new/better info as it arrives.