You are hereWall St. Journal: Video Kills the Radio Czar
Wall St. Journal: Video Kills the Radio Czar
CEO Is Second NPR Executive to Resign Following Activist's Sting Operation
March 10, 2011- The head of National Public Radio quit under fire as the organization became ensnared in a fresh scandal at a time when Congress is debating whether to pull its government funding.
Vivian Schiller, president and chief executive of NPR since January 2009, stepped down just hours after a video showed the head of NPR's fund-raising arm making disparaging remarks about the Republican Party and tea-party activists to men posing as prospective donors, and suggesting NPR would be better off without government funding. That executive quit Tuesday.
The pressure on NPR intensified Wednesday as the conservative activist behind the video, James O'Keefe, said he planned to release additional damaging materials about the radio network on Thursday.
NPR Chairman Dave Edwards said the scandal had become such a distraction that "it hindered Vivian Schiller's ability to lead the organization going forward." That opinion was not shared by Ms. Schiller, according to a person familiar with the matter. The board ultimately decided she needed to resign.
"NPR's under an incredible amount of pressure right now in Washington from the defunding threat," Ms. Schiller said. "It's quite possible that the fact that I'm no longer with NPR would potentially mitigate that threat."
Republican members of Congress, who have lambasted what they see as NPR's liberal bias, have long lobbied to cut its funding. NPR took criticism last fall after it fired news analyst Juan Williams for comments he made on Fox News about being nervous around Muslims on an airplane—a decision Ms. Schiller has said was "badly" handled. That move led to the resignation of NPR's then-top news executive.