NPR Head: Org Better Off in the Long Run Without Taxpayer Funding


I agree with HotAir's Ed Morrissey that the most-interesting takeaway from the latest vid from James O'Keefe (he of ACORN fame) is that Ron Schiller of the NPR Foundation suggests that the media operation would be better off without taxpayer subsidies. I suspect many if not most readers will disagree with much of what Schiller and his colleague say, but they don't come off so bad.

O'Keefe's confederates represented themselves as representatives of a group dedicated to spreading sharia law worldwide. More at Project Veritas.

Update: Jesse Walker points toward the constantly updated Twitter feed of NPR's David Folkenflik, which is essential reading for all sorts of NPR news, including discussion of Ron Schiller leaving his fundraising post at the organization. According to Folkenflik, Schiller was leaving to head to the Aspen Institute (will start there in April) before the video was released. And he quotes an NPR exec: "We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for."

Regarding the case against taxpayer funding for NPR, here's a snippet of a past conversation I had with Brooke Gladstone of WNYC's excellent On the Media show:

Why should the personnel choices of NPR be of any interest to the Congress of the United States? The short answer is that they shouldn't….I am confident that NPR's nonprofit ethos would survive any cut in federal funding. In fact, it may even grow stronger….The federal government is broke, and it's only going to get more and more broke. And at this point, we have to say, what are the core functions of government?…The idea that we have an inalienable right to Car Talk or Sesame Street to be piped in over tax-supported airwaves strikes me as a stretch….

We have never lived in a better time for journalism and information and public discourse that we have right now….Screw the "public interest" if you're going to define to it as some kind of 1965 "best and the brightest"mentality. That's an old and dangerous version of the public interest. The public interest [is served] everytime someone goes online or turns on the TV or the radio and gets information and we're going gangbusters.

More on that here.

NEXT: Did the Sun Come Up This Morning? Well, Jonathan Chait Has Written Another Provably False Thing About Libertarians

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  1. According to Wiegel, Schiller had already left npr prior to the release of this video.

    I only wonder if he’s related to the playwright.

  2. I don’t know if O’Keefe is a willing Republican agent, but if he truly feels this is his life’s work, it’s so interesting how some people can be convinced that the biggest threats to the country just so happen to be the organizations that are the biggest threats to Republican politicians. Orgs that boost minority voting, news outfits that report the truth, etc.

    1. Why do these organizations need tax money?

      Heh, the truth.

      1. The market is a bourgeois construct, foisted upon the common man by an unclean alliance of the rich and the Republicans.

        You will not speak of it again.

      2. Well, there’s “the truth” (shaking head sternly).

        And “the truth!” (smiling and nodding vigorously).

        1. PURPLE DRAPES!

    2. Watch for my new NPR show in April!

    3. Or midwestern governors, that sort of thing.

    4. news outfits that report the truth

      …and then there’s also NPR…

      1. Name one lie they’ve reported that wasn’t corrected, dipshit.

        1. you know that schiller is the worst kind of bigot, why defend him?

          1. schiller is the worst kind of bigot

            “That’s a feature, not a bug!”

          2. Please, there are worse kinds of bigots on these threads daily. And I’m not defending him. I’m laughing at the social activist dedicating his life to helping republican plutocrats gain power.

    5. Tony, I wholeheartedly concur.

    6. First 2 comments try to downplay and blame O’Keefe. Balko wrote an article just a few weeks ago that O’Keefe is a buffoon and a liar, wonder if he still stands by that? Why doesn’t Reason do investigative work like this instead of walking around at Tea Parties and waiting to see if someone says wetback.

  3. The federal government is broke, and it’s only going to get more and more broke.

    Racist teabagger!

    1. Uneducated gun-toting racist teabagger, to be exact!

  4. Ron Schiller of the NPR Foundation suggests that the media operation would be better off without taxpayer subsidies.

    That… that… that Kochsucking BASTARD!!!

  5. Ron Schiller of the NPR Foundation suggests that the media operation would be better off without taxpayer subsidies.

    He’s just tired of *pretending* to be nonpartisan, I suspect.

  6. It could also be that he’s tired of having 535 morons looking over his shoulder and second-guessing him.

    1. It could also be that he’s tired of having 535 morons looking over his shoulder and second-guessing him.

      But…but, I was under the impression that congressional oversight was noble and good. Tony told me so.

      1. Congress? I thought he was referring to NPR’s Board of Directors. Or maybe Reason blog commenters.

  7. Off topic, but does anyone know who is paying the WI state senator’s living expenses in Illinois? Wouldn’t that be viewed as a campaign contribution?

    1. Not a campaign contribution, technically, but illegal under Wisconsin law, which basically prohibits anyone from giving anything of value to an elected official.

      1. I wonder if willfully interfering with the legislative process is a removable offense? If so, the Wisconsin legislature has a nuclear option.

      2. OK, so now we’ve got doctors handing out fake sick notices, which could cause them to lose their credentials. We’ve got possibly illegal subsidizing of Wisconsin legislators’ resort runaway, and there are millions of dollars of cleanup required at the Wisconsin state capitol. Whose heads will roll here?

      3. Can states criminalize acts that take place in other states?

        1. California does. Or so I hear.

  8. The local NPR station has missed its fundraising goals for the last five years. Why should you and I continue to subsidize it?

    1. These people are floating a substantial donation in front of fundraisers. Everything they say from that point forward should be considered suspect. When you’re asking for money or selling something you tend to say whatever it is you think your audience will want to hear.

    2. Because market-based news sources are increasingly becoming purveyors of mass stupidity.

      1. I didn’t know you were market-based.

        1. Wow, PBS is supported by “People Like ME”

      2. I’ll generally agree with you Tony. But the important bit is that at least in the market, news sources/purveyors of stupidity balance eachother out. For every Hannity, there is a Maddow; for every O’Reilly, a Schultz.

        If you want truly sensible policy discussion, watch CSPAN (and yet it still baffles me how when I do, CSPAN manages to get some of the stupidest people in the world on the call-in segments).

      3. And a national news organization would be different how?

      4. It reminds me of the bailouts to GM. You didn’t buy our shitty cars so we are taking your money anyway. Replace buy our shitty cars with listen to our shitty radio programs(exept for wait wait don’t tell me).

  9. they don’t come off so bad


    Even if you assume everything they said was just spielin’ to part some dusky rubes from some money (is that good?), the fact that they have ready mental access to we-only-have-good-Jews-here arguments means they’re extremely fucking bad?or, if they’re not, they freely swim in that particular badness. Which is very bad.

    Didn’t that strike you at all? Do you have glib accept-and-move-on deflections for sudden eruptions of Jew-hating handy? Do you hear them a lot? Why? What the fuck is wrong with you? Why are you hanging out with Nazis?

    B) Here’s what’s interesting. The NPR guys keep trying to win over and/or reassure these guys who present themselves as committed Muslim theocrats?and present their donating to public broadcasting as part of their theocracy-promoting work?by reframing Muslim-political interests in terms of standard Team Blue-type white-elite anti-populism.


    Why do they think that’s how to play this guy? Do they think that’s where his and their interests really align? Like sharia’s pushed knowingly as a prole-wrangling opiate of the dusky rubes?

    Are they coaching the guy? “Here’s how to talk to Whitey, like Whitey, and get shit done.”


    1. Yeah. When they started in on that, I was actually expecting Schiller to start looking uncomfortable. Nope. “Glib accept-and-move-on deflections” describes it well. Not his first time at this particular rodeo, clearly.

      1. “National Palestinian Broadcasting”! Oh, that’s a good one! Ho ho ho!

  10. I like how Schiller complains about fundamentalist christians to fundamentalist muslims.

    I’m sure the irony is lost on that dope.

    1. +1

  11. I wonder if willfully interfering with the legislative process is a removable offense?

    It sounds as if the air will be filled with recall petitions in the not-too-distant future.

    1. That may well be true, but the legislature itself should have a process for removing members. The question is whether this rises to that level. I rather think it should, though this is dangerous ground either way.

      1. Dueling at high noon needs to make a comeback. And all legislators should be required to wear white gloves.

        Approach the precipice with forethoughts, during-thoughts, and afterthoughts in mind.

        1. Works for me. As does tarring and feathering.

  12. NPRs whole nonprofit, commercial-free aura is bullshit anyway. Their extensive executive board is very well-compensated, and they receive tens of millions of dollars of corporate money. The guy who does the afternoon traffic report signs off with “this traffic report was brought to you by McDonald’s: I’m Lovin’ It.”

    Put that in your tote bag, NPR worshippers.

  13. Wow, that was impressive. Schiller and Liley conducted a clinic nonpareil on ass-licking for alms.

  14. This guy says only a small portion of their budget comes from the Federal government, but the guy from my local PBS station is desperate to get me to write my Senators to keep their funding.
    I’m confused.

    1. It’s the local stations in the smaller communities that will lose funding if the government cuts it off. The larger stations in the bigger cities will be okay.

      So, if you live in San Jose or Boston, you will still get NPR, but if you live in small towns, you may not.

      1. Which is A ok with me.

  15. What about the children?

    Several teenagers have died after smoking synthetic cannabinoids, police say. Among them is David Rozga, 18, of Iowa, who committed suicide last year after consuming the substance, according to Brian Sher, a detective with the Indianola, Iowa, police department. Charlie Davel, 19, was killed last year after he fled police and went the wrong way on a highway in Mukwonago, Wisconsin; friends told authorities he smoked K2 several hours before the crash, said Waukesha County Sheriff’s Detective Steve Pederson.…..BAfzCaTYMM

    1. What children? Both were over 18.

      1. What children? Both were over 18.

        Under ObamaCare, the term “children” is now defined as 25 years and 364 days old.

  16. I agree that Schiller didn’t come off poorly, but probably was an idiot for revealing his personal views about the Tea Party to potential donors to the station.

    1. He said what he said to get funding, to try and build a common ground between his org. and the donors. That makes what he said on his own behalf, which is nothing more than a lame disclaimer, bullshit, ridiculous, absurd, finally telling the truth about his network, hell pick an ending…

      1. Yes, he may have come across as pandering, but that was basically his job. He isn’t a journalist at NPR; he’s a fundraiser.

        1. And as an agent he represents the company. If I’m pitching my company and say, “I hate those damn ginger bastards, we should get rid of them.” My company is complicit and if I say this with another member of my company present without any rebuttal it’s a safe assumption that this is a part of my corporate culture. He wasn’t pandering, he was selling his companies view to get donors, they know it, he knows it, hell the entire US knows NPR leans left except the people at NPR.

          1. He prefaced his remarks about the “racist” Tea Partiers and extreme conservatives as being his personal views. And, NPR apologized and said that he didn’t represent their views. So, what you’re saying is speculation.

            1. There are no personal views when selling your company to donors. Everything he said was to get them to feel comfortable giving him money. Of course it’s speculation, but you’d have to be a helmet wearing retard not to draw a similar conclusion with two officers of the company sitting there.

      2. A decade or so ago, when there was the controversy of PBS stations selling their donor lists to Democrats, the head of the local PBS station actually responded that they wouldn’t have needed to do it if only we had had the government give them more money, so it was actually our own damn fault.

        1. Why is everyone having such a hard time seeing that the solution to every societal problem from poverty to poor education is to put more tax money in the hands of liberals?

  17. Isn’t he a conductor or musician or some ridiculous education like that. Talk about irony if he is…

  18. I’d say NPR is a sinking ship, but I think they might actually be sunk and lying on the bottom. All that’s left are the retarded rats that didn’t bail.

  19. This story on NPR is bullshit, there aren’t nearly enough hyphenated names to give it credibility.

  20. I do listen to “On The Media” with Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield. And I must say I find it to be one of the most blatantly left-leaning shows on NPR. And I listen to a lot of NPR shows.

    Bob Garfield in particular is unabashadly lefty. He doesn’t really make any effort to hide is bias when supposedly “objectively” discussing the week’s newsworthy events.

    It is an interesting show, though.

  21. Team Blue!

    Fuck yeah!

  22. And, NPR apologized and said that he didn’t represent their views.

    Oh, well, that’s alright then.

    This guy worked there, in a high-profile “outward-facing” position for years. The odds that the poobahs at NPR didn’t know these were his views is minuscule. Assuming they did, the fact that they kept him on is an implicit endorsement.

    Try the tired old trope: Substitute Heritage for NPR, and unreconstructed rightwing bigotry for unreconstructed leftwing bigotry. Would you accept a lukewarm disclaimer from Heritage?

    I thought not.

    1. You appear confused. Heritage to NPR is apples to cheese fries.

      1. Also Schiller wasn’t a mouthpiece. He was expressing his opinions in a private conversation, not a public forum. And so what about his personal views? They’re not unusual or beyond the pale at at all.

        As an aside: yes many of the people in public radio have left-of-center views or sympathies, but by and large the enterprise tries to be fair. And truth-seeking, which isn’t fair all the time like it or not. If the organization were as unabashedly leftist as is often claimed, the right should be ashamed for having nothing to match.

        As a market liberal, I’d prefer NPR completely privatize, but there are worse things I worry about defunding.

  23. Roger Simon sums this up well.

    “I will suggest another explanation: They are stupid. Lost in a delusional world of political correctness, the elders of NPR have forfeited the ability to think critically. They simply can’t see the facts anymore ? or don’t care to. It’s too threatening to their limited weltanschauung. Hence, you get idiotic projections such as Schiller’s statement of how dumb Republicans are and how what America needs is more educated elites.”…..-of-npr/2/

    I would suggest a corolary to Occam’s razor is that, at least in this day and age, that the speaker is just stupid is nearly always the most likely explination for any event.

  24. All I know is if the teabagging fascists do to NPR what they did to ACORN, I will have found my pitchfork moment.

    1. Tony, Tony, Tony.

      You’re a liberal.

      Your wrists are WAY too limp to even hold a pitchfork.

      1. I will go after the homophobes first. I will smother them with t-shirts that say Fresh Air, because that would be ironic.

        1. I don’t peruse this blog much anymore because of idiots like you, and now I find you’re even more stupid than last time I was here. Tony, please grow a brain.

    2. yay, I’m a fascist! Now I just need the clothing to complete the ensemble.

      1. “Now I just need the clothing to complete the ensemble.”

        Like an SEIU T-shirt.

  25. WNYC’s excellent On the Media show

    That’s a joke, right?

  26. None of the first part was really all that shocking. A leftist believes that everyone who disagrees with him is a racist, gun toting, redneck? Whaa??? Stop the presses!

    To me, it seems like one has lost the argument once they have to attack the messenger and not the message.

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