NPR exec blasts tea party in hidden-camera video
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) — A National Public Radio executive called the tea party movement racist and xenophobic and said NPR would be better off without federal funding in a hidden-camera video released Tuesday by the same activist who has embarrassed other groups opposed by conservatives.
The video drew swift reaction from Republicans in Congress, who are renewing efforts to cut funding to public broadcasters. NPR and PBS have long been targets of conservatives who claim their programming has a left-wing bias. Similar efforts in the 1990s and 2005 were not successful, although public broadcasters take the threat seriously.
National Public Radio said in a statement that it was “appalled” by the comments from Ron Schiller, the president of NPR’s fundraising arm and a senior vice president for development.
Schiller informed NPR that he was resigning from his position before the video was shot, NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm said Tuesday. He was expected to depart in May, but has now been placed on administrative leave.
James O’Keefe, best known for hidden-camera videos that embarrassed the community-organizing group ACORN, posted the video Tuesday on his website, Project Veritas. The group said the video was shot on Feb. 22.
“We’ve just exposed the true hearts and minds of NPR and their executives,” O’Keefe said in a letter posted on the site. He asked supporters to sign a petition urging Congress to review NPR’s funding.
“This disturbing video makes it clear that taxpayer dollars should no longer be appropriated to NPR,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said in a statement. He added that executives have “finally admitted that they do not need taxpayer dollars to survive.”
The budget bill passed by the House last month would end funding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports programs distributed on NPR and PBS. CPB is getting $430 million in the current fiscal year.