NPR chief resigns after video sting

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller resigned Wednesday after footage surfaced this week of another executive attacking conservatives. 

According to an official statement from NPR's board of directors, Schiller tendered her resignation, effective immediately. But NPR's media correspondent, David Folkenflik, reported that Schiller was forced out by the board. 

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"I recognize the magnitude of this news — and that it comes on top of what has been a traumatic period for NPR and the larger public-radio community," said the board's chairman, Dave Edwards. "The board is committed to supporting NPR through this interim period and has confidence in NPR's leadership team."

Schiller's dismissal followed a video released by conservative activist James O'Keefe on Tuesday that showed NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller, who is not related to the former CEO, slamming conservatives and Tea Party activists and questioning whether NPR needs federal funding.

The footage emerged at a time when NPR is defending itself against proposed cuts to its budget from Republicans, who have claimed that the public radio network can survive on its own and that its coverage is slanted to the left. 

The House Republicans' spending plan proposes steep cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds NPR and PBS.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) commented Tuesday on the video, saying it underscored the need for cuts to NPR.

"As we continue to identify ways to cut spending and save valuable resources, this disturbing video makes clear that taxpayer dollars should no longer be appropriated to NPR," Cantor said Tuesday in a statement.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who is sponsoring legislation that defunds NPR, said Wednesday Schiller's resignation is not enough.

"It's not about who NPR/PBS hires or fires. It's about taxpayer funding: We can't afford it and they don't need it," he said on Twitter.

In the video, Ron Schiller is shown slamming Republicans for being overly religious and holding racial biases.


“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,” Schiller told two associates of O'Keefe who were posing as Muslim philanthropists looking to donate to the public broadcasting outlet.

Schiller added that it would be better if NPR were privately funded.

“Well, frankly, it is clear that we would be better off in the long run without federal funding,” he said. “The challenge right now is that if we lost it altogether we would have a lot of stations go dark.”

Ron Schiller, who decided to leave the company before the video was released, was put on administrative leave. 

Schiller recently admitted that the company mishandled the firing of news analyst Juan Williams last year, an action that reignited conservative criticism of NPR. 

"We handled the situation badly," Schiller said this week. "We acted too hastily and we made some mistakes, and I made some mistakes. The key thing now is to reflect on those mistakes, and to fix some of our systems that fell down on that day and make sure it doesn't happen again."

Williams was fired after making controversial statements about Muslims on Fox News.

-- This post was updated at 10:45 a.m.