Schillerfreude: NPR Dumps CEO in Wake of Video Sting

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 9 2011 9:25 AM

Schillerfreude: NPR Dumps CEO in Wake of Video Sting

NPR's David Folkenflik, who has been breaking every piece of the story for the network, reported on Twitter this morning that "the board for NPR NEWS has just ousted CEO Vivian Schiller in the wake of video sting by conservative activist of a top exec."

Here's NPR's statement:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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The NPR Board of Directors announced today that it has accepted the resignation of Vivian Schiller as President and CEO of NPR, effective immediately.     

Board Chairman Dave Edwards said: "The Board accepted Vivian’s resignation with understanding, genuine regret and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years."    

According to a CEO succession plan adopted by the Board in 2009, Joyce Slocum, SVP of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, will be appointed to the position of Interim CEO. The Board will establish an Executive Transition Committee to develop a timeframe and process for the recruitment and selection of new leadership.

It's been less than 48 hours since Schiller -- who is not related to former NPR fundraiser and executive Ron Schiller, the say-anything blabbermouth in the video sting -- gave a pugnacious speech at the National Press Club, arguing that the network is not institutionally biased and that it deserves continued federal funding. NPR immediately condemned Ron Schiller's remarks yesterday, and a few hours later the network announced that his planned departure had been moved up. Shortly after that, Schiller said he'd resigned.

The point of the video sting, according to James O'Keefe on CNN , had been to see whether there was a "greater truth or hidden truth amongst these reporters and journalists and executives" at NPR, because they'd let Juan Williams go over his clumsy-but-not-racist comments on Fox News about times he'd been afraid of Muslims. And the reaction to the video from conservatives has been bisected. Members of Congress, like Eric Cantor, have focused almost exclusively on Ron Schiller's meanderings about how NPR could survive without federal funds, although this wouldn't be ideal. Conservative media has focused on Schiller's dismissive opinion of Tea Party activists as "xenophobic" and hyper-religious, comparing that to his pander -- to people claiming to be Muslim activists with $5 million to donate -- about how NPR wants Muslim voices covered credulously.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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