Shake-Up At NPR

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brooke Gladstone, host and managing editor of WNYC’s On the Media, discusses the circumstances and implications of the ouster of NPR senior executive Ron Schiller and NPR CEO Vivian Schiller.


Brooke Gladstone

Comments [109]

cameron sark from Boston

Brooke misses the point about taxpayer support for NPR. It's not a matter of Jesse Helms and Joe McCarthy versus Jesse Jackson and Gene McCarthy. Neither the United States government nor any other government should hold the purse strings for media outlets. News media and government should be deeply skeptical of one another. If the news media must depend on the support of a government agency, they can never be truly independent.

Mar. 15 2011 12:09 PM
RCT from NYC

Schiller was right; the Tea Party is racist and xenophobic. I agree with him 100%. An article not too long ago in either Rolling Stone or the New Yorker traced the Tea Party's roots back to the racist, xenophobic John Birch Society.

Nor, based on the clip played on-air, was Schiller guilty of adopting an "anti-Semitic canard." He did not say that the news media was dominated by Jews; he said, rather, that even if a news organization had a pro-Israel editorial policy, and regardless of who owned that organization, "NPR could not be bought." He was responding to an anti-Semitic question by the party who set him and, I thought, handled that question very well, by moving from the particular (the questioner's comment about Jews) to the general (a media outlet's editorial policy) and stating the principle: we are not for sale.

Far from being nauseated by Schiller, I am nauseated by those who are throwing Schiller under the bus to placate the Republican Party. Don't we Democrats have guts? The answer, sadly, appears to be "No."

Mar. 10 2011 04:13 PM
Jack from New Jersey

Brian, I have to commend you for having devoted a segment on your show to this incident. I also appreciated your questions that countered the liberal opinions that were voiced.

I don't listen to every minute of your show, but wasn't today the first time since this story broke that it was discussed in any detail. Ironic that the discussion occurred the day after the fund drive ended.

I'm a conservative, but listen to NPR and other news and talk outlets to hopefully learn about what's going on. And as a conservative it is obvious that NPR has a liberal slant. Though I do love the righteous indignation of the guests and callers. Liberal is normal....and conservative is always viewed as bad, racist, or dumb.

Mar. 10 2011 02:32 PM
Roy from Queens

George from Bay Ridge: Because Republicans don't like it when people think for themselves when they get the right information.

Public TV and radio are needed in this country because some people have to be educated and informed about injustices, important facts and quaint stories that are happening here and abroad.

To muffle a voice because it doesn't compliment your opinion (and there are a lot of venues for people who don't agree with the views NPR has) is stupid and truly un-American.

Mar. 10 2011 01:18 PM

Certainly the silver lining in all this is Vivian Schiller's departure.

Since she came in (ca 2008), we've taken to calling NPR "National PR" radio in our household. To maintain sanity, I actually turn off segments like "All Tech Considered" and "NPR West" entertainment pieces, which consist of barely digested PR puff.

Since when are the thoughts of LA fluffers and flunkies news?

Worse, the underwriting for segments throughout Morning Edition and All Things Considered seems to be more often of the "special series adjacency" model.

Which comes first, the idea of the special series, or the need of the underwriters to reach a target audience? (See Ms Schiller era NYT's "T" magazine, home of the $2,000 frock)

What price solvency?

Mar. 10 2011 12:45 PM
Edward from NJ

@Mr Bad, perhaps it is silly, but it's a fact that any individual running a non-profit the size of WNYC is going to make a salary well into the 6-figure range.

According to Charity Navigator the *median* CEO salary for a large non-profit in this region is $300,000. At the extreme, the CEO of the New York Philharmonic has an $850,000 base salary and over 2.6 million in total compensation. Of course, all these salaries are small compared to those of CEOs running similarly-sized for-profits.

Mar. 10 2011 12:43 PM

I agree with Hazel. When I hear NPR using conservative euphamisms like, "enhanced interogation," instead of, "torture," it makes me sick to my stomach. Allowing the right wing to control the vocabulary of political discourse is just another way NPR and WNYC wimp out.

Mar. 10 2011 12:39 PM

I have to say, I agree with Schiller that the Federal funding is holding NPR back. It's a very small fraction of the budget, yet it exerts a disproportionate influence over the station. When politicians and political wonks lie or distort the trutch on the BBC, the BBC reporters take those guests to task on it, often persuing the point with rabid determination. When guests lie or dirstort the truth on NPR, the often let it go, and it's so obvious that they are feeling the budget cutters breathing down their necks. If NPR wasn't hanging onto that paltry 6%, they could speak their minds and they wouldn't have to worry about gotcha tactics. It's not like WNYC is Pacifica Radio. They are only moderately liberal. Conservatives have the power of the FOX propaganda machine behind them. Let's cut the apron strings and have a station that offers real reporting with an unabashedly progressive slant.

Mar. 10 2011 12:33 PM

Where is the punishment for two people who misrepresented themselves, surreptitiously taped a private conversation, blatantly led the conversation while waving money they did not actually have, and then made this conversation public?

As far as NPR having a liberal bent - please. Anyone remember "enhanced interrogation"? When I first heard that I thought it meant torturing people at the Waldorf Astoria. Why did NPR begin using that term for torture? Because that is what their benefactor (US Gov) wanted them to say.

I support NPR but they drive me nuts sometimes. The reporting seems to bend over backwards to be non-partisan. They will tell you what the Democrat/liberal/progressive position is but give voice and time to the Republican/conservative/tea-party position with a representative. I have to imagine it is only going to get worse.

Amy Goodman's Democracy Now news broadcasts is the only truly commercial free news broadcast on the air.

Mar. 10 2011 12:18 PM
charles d. from Mt.Vernon,NY

Let me start this note by getting my own"bias" out of the way-I LOVE NPR! I've been an avid listener-and supporter-for decades,and know that my outlook and approach to life,indeed my passion FOR life has been nurtured and informed by it's coverage of the world. "My world" is a bigger and better place,a more humane place as a result. That said,I think that recent decisions-the Juan Williams firing and this week's "Candid Camera" absurdity-can be overcome. "Stupid"?-yes. "Life-threatening"-definitely. But not fatal. In fact,I believe that the seed of what Mr. Schiller said-that NPR might be better off,ultimately,minus federal funding,should not be ignored. I don't think going "cold turkey" is the answer. Some corporate "talking heads" perhaps should do less talking and more thinking about what it actually WOULD take to loosen the federal ties. Can what WNYC did on a local level be implemented on a national scale? If not,what changes CAN be made? Standing pat is not an option,given the economic times.Ultimately though,the services NPR provides are essential,and are found few places elsewhere on the dial,if at all. Anyone with an open -and inquiring- mind,benefits from it's coverage,and that 'window on the world' is as close as your table radio. Thanks for This American Life,Brian Lehrer,Fresh Air,ATC and the countless numbers of unnamed,behind-the-scenes people that make them and many other programs possible. The next time I run into any of you in cyberspace,the first rounds on me...

Mar. 10 2011 12:00 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Edward from NJ

That is just silly, corporate politics and non-profit politics are all the same in a boardroom, i.e. protect your own, you serve on my board, I'll serve on yours, quid pro quo. She will NOT be replaced unless WNYC listeners band together to show their displeasure with her greed. I hardly think it's her "connections" or "acumen" that get all those "match" day contributions into the coffers - let's not be facile, shall we? It's a transparent ploy. A tax shelter is a tax shelter is a tax shelter, anyone with 1/2 a brain can chat up some rich idiot at a cocktail party, I do it myself on occasion ;)

Mar. 10 2011 11:36 AM
jihadisco from Nu Yawk City

Good god, Brooke Gladstone how can you be so naive. When you sell a product, you are essentially selling the organization behind that product. Ron Schiller was doing exactly that, selling NPR value prop.

This whole thing is rather funny because for a long time everyone knew NPR is bias but couldn't prove it. Well, Ron Schiller confirms it and Vivian Schiller validates it with her resignation.

Mar. 10 2011 11:15 AM
martin rosenfeld from fair lawn,nj

The real story about the lunch with Ron Schiller and Betsy Liley is that they heard hatred, anti-Americanism, and Anti-Semitism being spewed and said not one word in protest. This is not about Red State/Blue State. This is about how professional fundraisers lost their ethical compass in order to get money for their employer. A sordid tale.

Mar. 10 2011 11:13 AM
Edward from NJ

@Mr. Bad from NYC, Laura Walker's value to WNYC is largely determined by the station's fundraising success. As I understand it, they do quite well, so the WNYC board is likely satisfied with her performance.

Ironically, if you and enough others try to send a message by not donating, she may be fired -- but(!) she would be replaced by someone making even more money. The logic goes: if you want to raise more money, you need a "better" CEO. If you want a better CEO, you have to pay more money.

Mar. 10 2011 11:09 AM

The wide and differing range of "what the real soul of NPR is," as illustrated by the passionately expressed opinions below, is what keeps me coming back to WNYC and NPR, despite these large organizations' talent for being irritating sometimes.

Mar. 10 2011 11:08 AM

The wide and differing range of "what the real soul NPR is," as illustrated by the passionately expressed opinions below, is what keeps me coming back to WNYC and NPR, despite these large organizations' talent for being irritating sometimes.

Mar. 10 2011 11:06 AM
mark from NJ

Every organization has its share of hypocrites, blowhards, and incompetents. James O'Keefe and others of his stripe target low or mid-level functionaries looking for 'evidence' of the same, and then blow up these individuals' failings, representing their behaviour into as an indictment of their employer.
Entities like NPR, Acorn, and Planned Parenthood should be judged by the position of their leadership and the totality of their actions, not by the blunders of a few employees caught in a sting scam.
Schilling's greatest sin may have been to misrepresent his own liberal predjudices as the posture of NPR as a whole, but, as a fundraiser, he had no connection to NPR's newsgathering and editorial functions, so his statements carry little weight. If O'Keefe had come up with something from an NPR reporter or editor, that would be news. The Schilling sting is just smoke and mirrors, fake fuel for a right-wing attack on NPR funding. Don't be fooled.

Mar. 10 2011 11:01 AM
vanyoska gee from Manhattan ny

Your discussion regarding NPR was great. However, your guest's comment that it is fine to go under cover in certain circumstances is fine, providing that you eventually reveal your identity does not apply to certain circumstances. As a filmmaker and freelance location producer for CBS TV, I've had numerous experiences of entering a country clandestinely and under other such "covers," interviewing paramilitary leaders and other henchmen of a dictatorship. As it was, our undercover crew faced perilous situations where our lives were clearly at risk. Had I revealed our true identities and roles, I am sure I wouldn't be writing this today. So revealing ones' roles is not necessary and not feasible for journalists confronting specific, dangerous situations.
In my case, my cover was questioned (by unnerving and at times comical means) by US intelligence.
There also are areas of investigative reporting within our borders that pose risks.
But this is probably all an area for discussion in itself.
thanks for your great show!

Mar. 10 2011 11:00 AM

Ron Schiller did speak the truth however he works for a news organization and NPR being an actual news organization, he needed to be fired. Why Vivien was fired, I don't understand. It was quite a gift to the conservative media. I could not believe the article on the front page of the NYT! Why are we tying ourselves up in knots over one employees comments over lunch when hateful divisive and often untrue speech is part of the daily on-air programming for Fox News and Conservative talk radio.

Mar. 10 2011 10:56 AM
Katherine Boyd from Brooklyn, NY

Brooke Gladstone and Brian have merely skirted the salient issues of free speech and the firing of Vivian Schiller.

NPR has become less liberal over the past ten years or so and its' directly related to the right-wing attack on any slightly liberal media.

And here, as usual, everyone on the show is "making nice" in order not to offend any right-wing person who may be listening.

Mar. 10 2011 10:54 AM
mick from NYC

This whole thing is an artificial scandal created by the right wing. From what I have heard, Schiller said exactly what the Republicans have been advocating...that NPR make it or not without government support. To prove that the teaparty includes some people with racist views, one only needs to look at the pictures from signs that they display at their rallies. I have been a listern/supporter of public radio since the start, in the mid 70's and every time the Republicans have an advantage in the Congress they rattle the CPB tin cup and every time the NPR coverage dutifully becomes softer an the right and harder on the middle---there is NO left wing in American politics and there hasn't been McGovern. Latest was a puff piece on ATC in which a right wing economist, who are the only economists who get heard on NPR, was justifying the breaking of public unions. The opinion piece was covered as if it were news with softball questions that only served to allow the guest to flesh out his arguments against a straw man. Give me a break! If that is the price for DPB funding NPR stations in Podunk, KY, it's a price too high! Let them listen to WNYC on the internet!

Mar. 10 2011 10:53 AM
Gary Flinn from Long Beach

Brian showed his bias. The first caller said the tea party is racist and cited a study by the NAACP to prove it. Brian's response was "MAYBE you are painting the tea party with too broad a brush". That's the best you can do Brian, MAYBE?

Mar. 10 2011 10:53 AM
Katie from Huntington, NY

Sorry, Ron Schiller was speaking in a private conversation with someone who wasn't who he professed to be. Who should be crucified here? There should be a law about taping private conversations without the parties knowledge...oh, wait....

Mar. 10 2011 10:52 AM

Lesson learned here... don't speak the truth, you will pay with your job.

Mar. 10 2011 10:52 AM

The gentleman who said to cut funding to NPR because the country is brook says we have to start somewhere to get our budget on track.

The amount of subsidies that have been given to the oil companies for almost 100 years, to develop new technologies cost American Taxpayers $50,000,000,000 a year and counting.

Why does this money continue to go to these PRIVATE companies when they experience huge profits?

And why have we stopped shouting about Bush's tax cuts for the top 2% of earners? NPR enriches the lives in a much better way for many more than 2% of American Taxpayers!

Mar. 10 2011 10:52 AM
Leslie Hendrix from manhattan

I don't think the topic as it was introduced was addressed, that is as a moral issue, rather than a funding repercussions issue. I am a fervent supporter of NPR, but that said, if I hire someone who acts in an irresponsible or offensive way in his job, it is ultimately my responsibility. The amount of distancing done on this show was to me, an abdication of responsibility. A sting or not, these things should have never been said. Apologize quickly for bad behavior and move on.

Mar. 10 2011 10:52 AM
AndrewBinder from NYC!

UGLY? Saying the Tea Party is full of racists and bigots is 'UGLY"????????

Since when is saying the truth 'ugly'? so much for speaking truth to power.

Sorry Brian, that was an extreme statement and just buys into repiglican propaganda. What a dumb cowardly statement.

yes dems, liberals, progressives, even 'moderates'...all roll over, buy into the repiglican propaganda...repeat their talking points and someday we'll lose npr...why don't we just hand the whole country over to them now and get it over with.

I've never seen such cowardice!

Mar. 10 2011 10:49 AM
Kitty McCullough from Hudson Valley, NY

Public Radio provides critical EDUCATION for millions across the country who have no other regular access to accurate information and critical thinking. While we in NYC may have access to other sources of information, and have the wealth to support our stations without public funding, thousands of little stations across the country will go out of business without public $$. An educated voter is the sine qua non of a democratic republic. Education is as important to our future as feeding the hungry and healing the sick. The right is trying to gut our government and culture because they think they will be able to gain permanent control in the resulting chaos. Thanks for the great job you do!

Mar. 10 2011 10:49 AM
h l from NY

Exactly what Cathy from NJ said!

Mar. 10 2011 10:48 AM
dudley wright from Hong Kong

This is the poison that is Political Correctness.

Mar. 10 2011 10:48 AM

Excellently said!!!!

JSLsurf JSLsurf

Re: Nick from NYC's comment to "sting em back"

You don't need a sting to catch the tea party making racist, stuped or false statements. You just have to listen to their platform. That's the problem with the news today. The conservatives lies openly while the progressives only tell the truth in secret.
Mar. 10 2011 10:37 AM

Mar. 10 2011 10:46 AM
Tim Hamilton from Brooklyn

Teachers, NPR and Planned Parenthood are told they need less
of the small amount of tax dollars they get. Yet, Oil companies still get in the neighborhood of $53 billion in tax dollars. You won't hear the Tea Party up in arms about this.
Will anyone complain about this?

Mar. 10 2011 10:46 AM
Gianni Lovato from Chatham

I'm willing, ready and able to increase my contribution to WNYC by 6% . And also give just the same 6% to NPR. Anyone else?

Mar. 10 2011 10:46 AM
Jane Hunter from Bound Brook, NJ

We need to pay much more attention to the impact that cuts in funding will have on public radio stations in parts of the country where the only other broadcast alternatives are "Rush all the time" or country music. Public radio stations have saved my sanity during long consulting gigs in Montana and in Texas!

Mar. 10 2011 10:45 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

There is no inherent conflict in the government supporting public radio, it's just silly to argue that NPR is somehow the equivalent of FOX news. NPR is SLIGHTLY to the left, but those are its employees, the editorial control exerted is OVERWHELMINGLY fair and as close to the necessary fiction of "journalistic objectivity" as could be expected. For my $, I still think most NPR news presenters/programs veer to close to the government right wing propaganda line. It would be a shame to see NPR stripped of any public funding, US taxpayers have never gotten better value for their money. I'm personally appalled NPR forced their CEO to resign over this BS. The one who really need to resign is WNYC's overpaid CEO Laura Walker, Brian earns his $ every morning - I hate to donate any money to WNYC knowing that a huge portion of their operating budget goes to pay a 500,000+ salary that is totally unjustified.

Mar. 10 2011 10:45 AM
Adam from NYC

Why are we not talking about Vivian Schiller?

Mar. 10 2011 10:45 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

Long sigh.
Schiller's gaffe aside, I can only hope and pray that we as a people will not fall for the tremendous con that is being pulled (forgive the passive voice, but I honestly don't know who's pulling it) with regard to debt, budget, etc. In a world where teachers, public health practitioners, Sesame Street, Antiques Roadshow, and This American Life have to defend themselves against accusations that "our children's children" will have to pay for our largesse in supporting have to wonder, what's really going on? Who benefits from telling us that public workers shouldn't be able to unionize? From saying that public radio is a swollen tic that needs to be tweezed off the corpus publica? Our liberation and protection of our democratic well-being lies in the answer.

Mar. 10 2011 10:45 AM
Steve F. from Fair Lawn, NJ

Hello, Brooke and Brian --

Listening to the caller who just spoke of the need to "save the natonal budget..." The call for cutting these discretionary programs is a total canard. When was the last time you heard a Federal legislator speak of making any REAL cuts to "Defense"? That's the actual Third Rail. There's too much money to be made for trans-national corporate interests. A state of perpetual warfare can be deeply profitable... Even for the "losing" side.

Mar. 10 2011 10:44 AM
William Oddo

Enough is enough. NPR should set the example and not back down to republican and Tea party pressure just as Gov. Walker didn't back down when he made his comments.

When will liberals learn. When liberals get some strength, and no we should not give up the small government support of decimation of non commercial public interest. Do we all have to withhold our listener support and financial donations.

You the Tea Party was broadly and I think rightly accused of racism and insulting the President so vehemently. Show some courage, so some conviction, show that you truly believe in fair criticism

This is my most serious and critical criticism of NPR. It goes to the heart and soul of providing an alternative point of view.

Mar. 10 2011 10:44 AM

Free speech is only protected from the government not the employer

Mar. 10 2011 10:43 AM
Valerie from Park Slope

Some of Mr. Schiller's comments may be offensive; others are unpleasant but true.

But how was Vivian Schiller in any way responsible for what he said (or statements of Juan Williams for that matter)? The only way an NPR executive could preclude such occurrences would be to muzzle all employees and consultants as a contractual condition, exercising the kind of total control one might expect in a national intelligence service or Thought Police -- but NPR?

Short of that, no NPR executive is safe with any semblance of democratic leadership if they are accountable for personal beliefs and utterances of all those affiliated with the organization.

Yours sincerely,

Valerie A. Wattenberg

Mar. 10 2011 10:43 AM
Margaret vranesh from Manhattan

We have travelled across the country many times by car, and the one thing that keeps us "in touch" are the NPR stations, which usually are coming from one main station probably university related and strung out all over the state.
I recall Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and "yes" even California. That information is badly needed out there.

Yes, I think that local stations do not have NPR's coverage and maybe some people would consider it a "Liberal" outlet.

Face it, Most people who listen to NPR may be more educated, so it wouldn't hurt to let others in the hinterland hear the stations.

Mar. 10 2011 10:43 AM
Susan from west side

I hope NPR continues to be funded.

But NPR does have a reputation of being more to the Left than the Right. It is wrong for any NPR staff to make derogatory remarks about a political or any group and for you to expect government to subsidize it, that's wrong.

Mar. 10 2011 10:42 AM
Abi from Maine

I'm an admitted NPR junky, and frankly, I don't want to live in a country where I have to listen to people shouting at one another only to get a polemicized view of the news.

However it happens, we need to ensure the health and sustainability of NPR and other sources of independent media!

James O'Keef is just desperate for glory. What he's doing is a travesty, that's nothing more than farcical political theater, and people need to realize that.

Mar. 10 2011 10:42 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Brooke Gladstone just laid out the ways the stings have been carried out & the consequences. What I want to know is, how long are organizations that must know they're likely targets going to be suckers for this kind of crap? They need to vet anyone coming to them to make sure they come from legitimate organizations, & when clips come out, they need to find out what context they were taken out of & what the full story is before they fire the people involved. I hope this is starting to happen more often--maybe Brooke knows?

Mar. 10 2011 10:42 AM

i would like to see public broadcasting become less vulnerable to government shenanigans.

i would like to see some sort of mutual aid organization for public radio stations to help major market stations help out the small stations in low density, low income areas.

yes there is case for government subsidies as commercial broadcasters get free use of the air waves, but public broadcasting might still be stronger if it was more independant.

Mar. 10 2011 10:42 AM
michael d from NYC

Please address why Vivian Schiller was forced to resign when she had nothing to do with this scandal.

Mar. 10 2011 10:42 AM
steve from Manhattan

I'm all in favor of "undercover" reporting and all forms of disclosure and inside information, as long as it's not then falsely edited or fabricated like the Sharrod incident. I just wish the left would figure out how to do it as well as the right...

Mar. 10 2011 10:42 AM

Thanks for your stereotyping of the U. of Chicago. Or did you forget that Barack Obama taught there? Or Bernie Sanders, David Broder and Seymour Hersh went there? Gawd....

Mar. 10 2011 10:42 AM
ray dobbins from new york city

I am so ashamed of certain people on the left,, There is no defence for for the smug (yes) elitism of many of us regarding our attitudes about ordinary people . Its getting me sick .
I grew up as a poor white from a mill town. and my relatives are not as stupid or as simply wrong as that obnoxious bastrd believes.
Moving to aspen is an example.
There has always been a pro censorship creeping authoritarian trend on the left.
At the top.

There has always been a significant portion

Mar. 10 2011 10:42 AM
Phil from Park slope

I just watched Borat for the first time the other day, and it occurs to me that we owe the explosion of this form of "journalism" to that film as much as anything. As funny as it was, it struck me as exploitative and fundamentally unfair and unethical.

I agree with the first caller who questions the efficacy of resignations and apologies.

Mar. 10 2011 10:41 AM
Cathy from NJ

First, I want to say I love WNYC in particular, The Brian Lehrer Show. I enjoy NPR shows greatly and am happy my tax dollars are contributing to NPR and CPB. NPR/CPB funding is like funding for highways and national parks...necessities. That said, our household is more concerned with the fund raising from non-govt group than with what Schiller said. We, my husband in particular, are concerned how much funding come from corporations that can skew reporting. I depend on NPR and WNYC to give me unbiased reporting without the screaming and posturing.

Mar. 10 2011 10:41 AM

give up your tax cuts if u care about the children

Mar. 10 2011 10:41 AM
oscar from ny

i know right..npr, is political, bbc is british to death, wnyc is definetly bias, and all the other media is bias itself technology has blinfolded the mass to murder, this needs to stop, ask how?..stop freaking praying to anything , stop spiling your guts on the ppl, ..this world is all free stop trying to sacrife to your delisions..we are all here with youuu

Mar. 10 2011 10:40 AM
h l from NY

Love how BL and Brook are now selling out the shillers!

Mar. 10 2011 10:40 AM

Lesson? Don't talk about politics or religion with people you don't know all that well.

Mar. 10 2011 10:39 AM
Robert Hack from Queens


Mar. 10 2011 10:39 AM
Rob from NJ

I'm certainly a lot more conservative than NPR, but I don't have any plans to stop listening (or stop contributing) to WNYC. I think we would all be better off without the funding, even if it doesn't compare to what does to agribusiness.

Mar. 10 2011 10:39 AM
David Stern

Why are you calling NPR the "other side". NPR is one of the last sources of unbiased news reporting. Stop supporting the right-wing propaganda that NPR has a liberal bias. If anything, it sometimes presents a right-wing bias as a defensive response.

You have a great show I hope the right-wing does not shut it down

Mar. 10 2011 10:38 AM
Edward from NJ

Is there anyone else named Schiller still working at NPR? Maybe someone's personal assistant? An accountant? Perhaps they should resign too just to clear up any confusion?

Mar. 10 2011 10:38 AM
h l from NY

Go Martin (last caller)!!!

Mar. 10 2011 10:38 AM
Ann from Brooklyn

There is a big difference between a sting "operation" -- which is well funded (by Breitbart etc) -- and a prank (Gov Walker). Money.

Mar. 10 2011 10:38 AM

Re: Nick from NYC's comment to "sting em back"

You don't need a sting to catch the tea party making racist, stuped or false statements. You just have to listen to their platform. That's the problem with the news today. The conservatives lies openly while the progressives only tell the truth in secret.

Mar. 10 2011 10:37 AM
Cathy from NJ

First, I want to say I love WNYC in particular, The Brian Lehrer Show. I enjoy NPR shows greatly and am happy my tax dollars are contributing to NPR and CPB. NPR/CPB funding is like funding for highways and national parks...necessities. That said, our household is more concerned with the fund raising from non-govt group than with what Schiller said. We, my husband in particular, are concerned how much funding come from corporations that can skew reporting. I depend on NPR and WNYC to give me unbiased reporting without the screaming and posturing.

Mar. 10 2011 10:37 AM
Katheirne Boyd from Brooklyn, NY

The firing of Vivian Schiller by the Board of NPR was cowardly and spineless. She should not be held responsible for personal opinions expressed by an ex-NPR fundraising executive with liberal views. And why shouldn't he be allowed, to speak and defended for it?

Is the right of free speech against a political party which has, in fact, highjacked the Republican party and who, for the most part are racist, now under attack? Richard Schiller spoke the truth.

NPR's refusal to defend his right, and the Board's action to fire its CEO, proves that the Tea Party has highjacked not only the Republican party but also at least one media organization's attitude toward free speech.

Mar. 10 2011 10:37 AM

Brooke -- ACORN also called the police on the O'Keefe fraudsters.

And ACORN went down because, as with NPR, the mainstream Dems and lefties would not stand up for them. The 2010 election shows in part how well that's going to work out for the Dems.

You just now made a statement which implied that ACORN was shown to be doing somethng illegal. But, actually, ACORN also called the police to report the trickster pimp and 'ho.

But, yes, the left just rolls over.

Jeff Jarvis said on Market Place last night that NPR board's action against Vivian Schiller will simply encourage the right to do even more such stings. After all, they have been highly successful.

And, really, what was legally done against Breitbart? Nothing, iirc. Sherrod is suing and best luck to her. But Obama kicked her under the bus immediately without even checking!

Mar. 10 2011 10:37 AM
Judith from Brooklyn

I'm always skeptical when I see these gotcha journalist videos. They are always shown and reported on out of context (by both right and left) - we rarely see the entire transcript or an unedited video.

Mar. 10 2011 10:36 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Yesterday, I read the blog on NPR's site about this subject and it was disturbing.

Overwhelmingly the contributors were from the left, and consider their political opinions to be facts, not to be questioned.

Two, they overwhelming don't seem to understand what the problem was with what Schiller said. Their reactions almost always fell into one or more of the following categories.

(a) Schiller was only expressing a "personal" opinion (never mind that he was there in a professional capacity and representing NPR;
(b) What he said was true, therefore, no big deal;
(c) the conservative group that did the "sting" was to blame.

In effect, the reaction of the bloggers back up what the sting operation largely claimed, at least for the NPR audience. But the audience denies it or that it is even an issue to discuss.

BTW, I believe NPR slants slightly to the left but I think they try to be neutral & objective, I am a long-time listener (decades) and highly value it.

Mar. 10 2011 10:36 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Juan Williams and Shirley Sherrod (sp?) were different from Planned P., Planned P. does routinely hide their dealings with underage people, etc., see Lila Rose.

Mar. 10 2011 10:35 AM

The Acorn tapes, along with just about every other right-wing "sting" were also doctored.

He changed into a button-down shirt and khakis before speaking with Acorn and manipulatively excluded that from the footage.

Mar. 10 2011 10:35 AM
Caroline from Manhattan

Hi Brian,
Hopefully someday I'll be rave enough to call in. But I think the bottom line is that as much as we love your show and your colleagues at WNYC we (the NYC area) wouldn't be much affected by the defunding of NPR but the people who need the wonderful news services local NPR station provide the most would be in big trouble. God knows what people in rural Idaho would listen to or watch if there were no NPR. So NPR has to be funded just to save those stations. WNYC doesn't matter but save the people of North Dakota! (Seriously.)

Mar. 10 2011 10:34 AM

So people are upset about some guy saying the Tea Party is racist and xenophobic... while a videographer sets up a fake _Muslim_ charity linked to the scary _Muslim_ Brotherhood with scary _Muslim_ money. The whole point originally was to associate NPR with "those people."

Also, where is the coverage of O'Keefe's sex boat and wiretapping a senator?

Mar. 10 2011 10:34 AM
spring from NYC

I'm listening to Brian Lehr right now, taking questions about The recent comments regarding the Tea Party.
Why is it a bad thing to state that it is a mostly white, middle America movement. A) It seems to be mostly true. and B) do people see this as a negative description?

Mar. 10 2011 10:34 AM
h l from NY

people, seriously, is this your only news source? It's probably wise to get news from multiple places so you aren't getting bias news. And of course it's bias, and they prob have some agendas going here and there..i mean why didn't they report this during their fund drive? there's this thing out now called the internet, check it out.

Mar. 10 2011 10:34 AM
Lou Panico from Linden NJ

The bottom line here is very simple - part of the right wing Republican agenda is to silence NPR. Fair and balanced means Fox News to these people and any other voice needs to be silenced.

NPR is an enemy of the right and as such needs to be silenced - it is nothing more complicated than that and these people will stop at nothing to achieve their twisted goals.

Mar. 10 2011 10:33 AM
john from office

Brian, screen your callers. That last caller was not helpful in this segment.

Mar. 10 2011 10:33 AM
oscar from ny


Mar. 10 2011 10:33 AM
nick from nyc

sting 'em back!!

it should not be to hard to catch Tea Party pols or prominent conservatives making politically damaging statements.

Sometimes progressives need to fight fire with fire.

Mar. 10 2011 10:33 AM
suzan frecon from nyc

What's so terrible about pointing our racists and liars? We need truth in journalism! That's why I rely on NPR and WNYC. They are where I go when I want to hear facts, rather than propaganda (as Murdock's news empire) There is nothing to apologize for!
These are obviously the old smear tactics of the lying right wing!
It certainly makes me want to contribute more money to protect our precious unsponsored-by-vested-interests, news sources!!

Mar. 10 2011 10:32 AM


Do you even listen to this station? The coverage of Wisconsin has been very thorough. Check the podcasts of the Brian Lehrer Show, Morning Edition, and the BBC News Hour over the past couple of weeks.

Mar. 10 2011 10:31 AM
Eric from Manhattan, NY

Can someone please clarify for me the application of 1st amendment- right to free speech?
-Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the rights of demonstrators to speak against gays/military at a funeral of all places.
-This week, a media leader speaks his mind, but must resign as a result.
I'm not taking a position on the comments made, but there seems to be a great imbalance in our interpretation of free & speech.

Mar. 10 2011 10:31 AM
david from ditmas park

I think the details of the ruse (muslim donors to npr, the direction of the conversation) says more about the people excited about catching schiller, than it does about npr.
i don't disagree with anything schiller said (at least what i could hear). this seems like an attack on political correctness.

Mar. 10 2011 10:30 AM
Robert from NYC

You got what you deserve! You seem to be scared that you might have to lose your jobs or some of your wonderful salaries and benefits like the folks in Wisconsin who, BTW, you don't seem to cover. I remember when NPR/NYC supported the worker. You got what you deserve and more is probably on the way. Bye bye NPR, remember that nothing is forever and everything is replaceable.

Mar. 10 2011 10:30 AM
Karla from Brooklyn

Why is it offensive to state a fact, which is that the Tea Party espouses and puts forth racist ideas and seeks to influence what people can do in their private lives, despite it's claim to be desirous of less government?

Mar. 10 2011 10:29 AM
Robert from NYC

You got what you deserve! You seem to be scared that you might have to lose your jobs or some of your wonderful salaries and benefits like the folks in Wisconsin who, BTW, you don't seem to cover. I remember when NPR/NYC supported the worker. You got what you deserve and more is probably on the way. Bye bye NPR, remember that nothing is forever and everything is replaceable.

Mar. 10 2011 10:28 AM
The Truth from Becky

LOL...very noticeable day late for this segment!

Mar. 10 2011 10:27 AM
Ken from Little Neck

As un-PC as it is, why is this such a controversy? What he said about the tea party is basically true. They can deny it all they want, but it is overwhelmingly white, and there is quite a bit of racism.

Mar. 10 2011 10:26 AM
steve from NYC

While what Ron Schiller said maybe offensive to some, but it's based on truth, no?

Mar. 10 2011 10:26 AM
Karen Otten Elias from Westchester

the blind and deaf tea partiers,
whose philosophy is rooted in Jacksonian Democracy, SHOULD also be mute,
at least muted, on radio that is free radio, free of manipulative dangerously ignorant politics

Mar. 10 2011 10:26 AM
Linda from NJ from NJ

Once again I feel like the emperor has no clothes.
Can no one see that the "point" is to dumb down America and NPR is in the way?
I happen to like being educated on a daily basis and the "right" likes to keep 'em ignorant.
Traveling around this country I find pockets of people like me, but nothing like what is here in the northeast. Makes me never what to leave home!

Mar. 10 2011 10:25 AM
John Scott Lucas from Briarcliff Manor, NY

The problem is not that Ron Schiller got "caught" stating his opinions, the problem is that he had to step down due to manufactured right wing political outrage. If Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity state divisive or partisan opionions, they get praise and higher ratings. But God-forbid somebody critisizes the radical right in the media, and they have to fall on their sword.

Mar. 10 2011 10:24 AM
only question


Mar. 10 2011 10:24 AM
jihadis_co from Nu Yawk City

Vivian Schiller should have resigned the day she fired Juan Williams. She has proven to everyone that she's clueless, out of touch and a lousy leader.

Good ridden.

Mar. 10 2011 10:24 AM

Where is the Kroc money that was left to NPR?

Mar. 10 2011 10:23 AM
Maddy from long island, ny

cut federal funding from non-profit public broadcasting?
then stop the tax breaks to for-profit private broadcasting corporations!

Mar. 10 2011 10:22 AM
Kim from from Putnam County

I worry about what will happen with international news reporting in the US, since NPR is practically the only US organization that still has correspondants working abroad. TV news has given that up because it's too expensive. Will we have only the BBC to rely on if NPR loses funding? That would be a real tragedy for the US.

Mar. 10 2011 10:21 AM
Gianni Lovato from Chatham

Please try to explain to the listeners why & how the Fed. funding is important.
Also try to introduce the notion of "what if". Would it really be so terrible?
Would it not improve your independence?

Mar. 10 2011 10:21 AM

Can you throw some light on why a big, current national story was conspicuously NOT covered on BL Show or OTM during the fund drive -- the question of taxpayer funding of NPR programming?

Mar. 10 2011 10:21 AM
Ben from Park Slope

Can you discuss IN DEPTH the relationship between WNYC and NPR, including money and politics and all the nasty details.

During pledge week, we hear that "we need member money because we pay $2M to NPR for All Things Considered," etc. Why? Didn't they get barrels full of money from the Krock family? Why do they need to charge us so much for their news?

And if we do pay more than "small market" stations, then does WNYC get a bigger voice on the NPR Board than a small station in South Dakota? Because I bet most WNYC listeners don't care a hoot what James O'Keefe does.

Isn't part of this story that small market (i.e. Redder States) stations are controlling the NPR Board? And don't we no longer need them if people in South Dakota can listen to Brian Lehrer on a podcast or on the Internet?

Mar. 10 2011 10:21 AM
William from Manhattan

Is it NPR's standard procedure to meet with organizations presenting themselves as prospective donors without doing any due diligence to determine the legitimacy of the group? In my work, I would never meet with a prospective client without doing some due diligence. How about WNYC?

Mar. 10 2011 10:21 AM
Edward from NJ

The handling of this all seemed very panicked. In the future, perhaps non-profits should institute a cooling-off period before anyone gets fired over an internet video.

Mar. 10 2011 10:20 AM
michael from greenpoint

james o'keefe is a piece of trash. can we all just stop with these secret witch hunts? I don't think anything that was said was even offensive. everytime republicans come into power they want to cut all funding on npr and pbs. maybe that's better off anyway, if it's just funded by people, as opposed to everything else in the country that is controlled by corporations.

Mar. 10 2011 10:20 AM
b from BK

NPR like most of the Democrat establishment are spineless and roll over for anything.

I vote dem
don't know why anymore...

Mar. 10 2011 10:19 AM
Jenn from Upper East Side

I think the government should continue to fund npr, but to be honest, I'd be more than happy to increase my monthly contribution by the requisite 6% (at wnyc) just to not have to listen to Republican propaganda about the "biased" reporting found on npr.

Mar. 10 2011 10:19 AM

I'd gladly up my contribution 6% if congress cuts it.

But I don't think anyone should have resigned over those comments - why resign for speaking the truth??

Mar. 10 2011 10:19 AM
Ed from Larchmont

I think they should take the funding from Planned P. and give it to NPR, NPR is terrific.

Mar. 10 2011 10:16 AM
To George

Good God, man, do you listen to NPR? It's completely partisan and it receives taxpayer funding (albeit not much). It's probably unconstitutional.

Mar. 10 2011 10:16 AM

A very noticeable day late for this segment.

Mar. 10 2011 07:38 AM
George from Bay Ridge

What do Republicans and conservatives have against NPR? Why are they targeting the funding? What is their agenda?

Mar. 10 2011 04:52 AM

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