National Public Radio President and CEO Vivian Schiller resigned March 9 after reported pressure from the company’s board of directors.
The resignation, which was effective immediately, came one day after NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was captured, through a hidden video camera, calling members of the Tea Party political movement “racist” and “xenophobic.”
The public radio organization recently came under fire for dismissing Black political analyst Juan Williams after he revealed on FOX News that he felt uncomfortable when a person dressed in Muslim garb boarded his plane.
According to the Associated Press, Schiller said she stepped down after a conversation with the board. “I did not want to leave NPR. There’s a lot of pressure on NPR right now,” Schiller told the AP. “It would have made it too difficult for stations to face funding threat in Congress without this change.”
In the hidden camera footage fundraiser Schiller said, “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.”
He agrees, on tape, with derogatory characterizations of Islam by the tea party made by men posing as members of a Muslim advocacy group who said they could give $5 million to NPR saying that tea party proponents are “just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”??Schiller rejected the fundraiser’s assertions before resigning. NPR leaders said they did not accept the money.
In a written statement, Board Chairman Dave Edwards said the board “accepted her resignation with understanding, genuine regret, and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years.” He added that he realized 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.”
Schiller had been NPR president since January 2009.
After the resignation announcement, NPR correspondent David Folkenflik tweeted that the board ousted Schiller because of the “video sting.” The media scrutiny comes at a time when the radio organization faces deep cuts in federal funding as Congress contemplates the nation’s budget.