Ron Schiller Won't Join Aspen Institute After All

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 9 2011 11:20 AM

Ron Schiller Won't Join Aspen Institute After All

The Aspen Institute, where departed NPR executive Ron Schiller was supposed to start next month, releases a statement:

Ron Schiller has informed us that, in light of the controversy surrounding his recent statements, he does not feel that it’s in the best interests of the Aspen Institute for him to come work here.

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A complete career tailspin. The Aspen Institute has already taken down the press release announcing Schiller's hiring. No wonder -- he was going to become director of the Harman-Eisner Artist-in-Residence Program, "Harman" being Sidney Harman, the new Newsweek owner, Aspen trustee, and husband of the retiring Rep. Jane Harman.

Here's some of the deleted press release:

"Ron Schiller embraces and lives the values that we share as a community," said Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson, "I am very pleased that he has agreed to join us to help us build a strong and vibrant arts program, the kind of program that we believe is central to the Institute's origins and to its mission." 

In accepting this position, Schiller said, "I am thrilled to join the Aspen Institute community. The Institute—with its history, its leadership, and its association with a community known around the world for its commitment to and leadership in the arts—is extremely well-positioned to make a major contribution to the arts both in America and abroad, exploring both in the arts and through the arts some of the most important and fascinating challenges and opportunities facing our society." 

Sidney Harman, Institute trustee, chairman of the Committee on the Arts and co-benefactor of the Harman-Eisner Artist-in-Residence Program said: "With the appointment of Ron Schiller, we are positioned to further integrate the arts––all the arts––into everything we do. The arts should be, and will be, organic/intrinsic in all Aspen Institute activities. We expect that with Ron's engagement, the Institute will take leadership in proselytizing the arts throughout America and the world."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.