[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
And they say pretty much it is one of those cases where it was either quit or be fired:
NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller has resigned after NPR’s board of directors decided that she could no longer effectively lead the organization.
This follows yesterday’s news that then-NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was videotaped slamming conservatives and questioning whether NPR needs federal funding during a lunch with men posing as members of a Muslim organization (they were working with political activist James O’Keefe on a “sting.”)
Vivian Schiller quickly condemned Ron Schiller’s comments, and he moved up an already-announced decision to leave NPR and resigned effective immediately. But Ron Schiller’s gaffe followed last fall’s dismissal of NPR political analyst Juan Williams, for which Vivian Schiller came under harsh criticism and NPR’s top news executive, Ellen Weiss, resigned.
(Source.) I think we are well past the point where it is time to cut off funding for public broadcasting. In theory it sounds good—a nice, neutral arbiter that makes sure that there are basic, publicly-needed elements somewhere on our dial, such as educational programming for children and neutral news at night. I mean I used to joke that Barney the Purple Dinosaur was vital to enabling my sister to get to work as a single mother, as it represented the “humane alternative to nailing my niece down to the carpet.” She would just plop my niece down, turn on an episode of Barney and go get ready for work, confident that her daughter will not have moved an inch while she was out of the room.
But the fact is that there is little doubt that a show like Barney would get incredible ratings if on commercial television. After all, other educational shows like Blue’s Clues and Dora the Explorer are found on commercial television. And when you throw in things like merchandising, there is little doubt that a Sesame Street would have no trouble finding a home on commercial TV—if it came to that. And as the video reveals it is far from self-evident that if federal funding was cut off, public broadcasting would have to shift to the typical commercial TV format. They might survive on donations alone.
And the reality is that this is not the neutral arbiter that we might have hoped. Which is bad in and of itself. It should be unthinkable to take money from everyone and funnel it into an organization that takes sides in our political debates. And we should feel that way whether our side benefits or not.
Update: In case there is any doubt on the subject of whether NPR or others in the public broadcasting arena take sides in our politics, there is this:
Fiore is talented, but this cartoon is just a mean-spirited attack on people who think differently than he does and doesn’t broaden the debate. It engages in the same kind of name-calling the cartoon supposedly mocks.
And why is NPR running a cartoon from just one perspective?
And who was this evil conservative who wrote that? Well, look and see.
But really if you doubt that public broadcasting has taken sides, I have two words for you: Bill Moyers.
You have to be singularly deluded or dishonest not to notice a liberal bias, there.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]