The Corner

NPR Exec: Tea Partiers Are ‘White, Middle America, Gun-Toting Racists’

UPDATE: In the tape released by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, the two men meeting with NPR Foundation president and senior vice president of development Ron Schiller and senior director of institutional giving Betsy Liley told NPR their names were Amir Malik and Ibrahim Kasaam, and that they were members of the (fictional) Muslim Education Action Center, which had originally been founded by “a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood in America actually.” On the website for the MEAC, the group stated “we must combat intolerance to spread acceptance of Sharia across the world.” Malik and Kasaam indicated they were interested in donating $5 million to NPR.

Here is a partial transcript of the conversation, beginning with Schiller’s comments on the Tea Party:

Schiller: The current Republican party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian, and I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird, Evangelical kind of move. The current Republican party is not really the Republican party. It’s been hijacked by this group that is –

Fake Muslim: The radical, racist, Islamophobic, Tea Party people?

Schiller: And not just Islamophobic, but really xenophobic. I mean, basically, they are – they believe in sort of white, middle America, gun-toting … I mean, it’s pretty scary. They’re seriously racist. …

Schiller: Now I’ll talk personally as opposed to wearing my NPR hat. It feels to me as though there is a real anti-intellectual move on the part of a significant part of the Republican party. In my personal opinion, liberals might be more educated, fair, and balanced than conservatives. …

On NPR’s funding:

Schiller: Very little of our funding comes from the government, but they [Republicans] act as if all of it comes from the government. It’s about 10 percent of the total station economy. The total station economy is about $800 million dollars a year, and about $90 million comes from the government.  … In the long run, we would be better off without federal funding. The challenge right now is if we lost it all together a lot of stations would go dark. … NPR would definitely survive [if federal funding was pulled] and most of the stations would survive.

On the Jewish influence of media coverage:

Fake Muslim:  … The extent to which Jews do kind of control the media. I mean, certainly the Zionists and the people who have the interest in swaying media coverage toward a favorable direction of Israel. The Palestinian viewpoint since NPR is one of the few places that has the courage to really present it. It was kind of a joke that we used to call it National Palestinian Radio.

Lilely: Oh, really? That’s good. I like that.

Fake Muslim: I’m not too upset about maybe a little bit less Jew influence of Jewish money into NPR. The Zionist coverage is quite substantial elsewhere …

Schiller: I don’t actually find it at NPR.

Fake Muslim: What exactly?

Schiller: The Zionist or pro-Israel even among funders. … I mean, it’s there in those who own newspapers obviously, but no one owns NPR. So actually, I don’t find it.

Fake Muslim: I just think what Israel does, I don’t think, can be excused frequently, so I’m glad to hear that.  …

[Lilely talks about how one of NPR’s funders, the American Jewish World Service, doesn’t necessarily agree with NPR’s perspectives always.]

Schiller: Right because I think they are really looking for a fair point of view and many Jewish organizations are not. Frankly, many organizations … I’m sure there are Muslim organizations that are not looking for a fair point of view. They’re looking for a very particular point of view and that’s fine. 

Fake Muslim:We’re not one of them.

Schiller: I’m gathering that you’re not.

Fake Muslim: Our funding comes from a place like the Muslim Brotherhood. You look at the way they are demonized and looked down on and shown as horrible, terrible people when they are simply just trying to help.

Lilely: Sadly, our history from the record … shows that we’ve done this before. We put Japanese Americans in camps in World War II.

On Juan Williams:

Schiller: In all of the uproar for example around Juan Williams, what NPR did, I’m very proud of. What NPR stood for is non-racist, non-bigoted, straightforward telling of the news. Our feeling is that if a person expresses his or her opinion,  which anyone is entitled to do in a free society, they are compromised as a journalist, they can no longer fairly report. And the question we asked internally was can Juan Williams when he makes a statement like he made can he report to the Muslim population, for example, and be believed and the answer is no. He lost all credibility and that breaks your basic ethics as a journalist.

UPDATE II: NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm responds to the video with this statement:

The fraudulent organization represented in this video repeatedly pressed us to accept a $5 million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept. We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for. Mr. Schiller announced last week that he is leaving NPR for another job.

UPDATE III:  Project Veritas has released a two-hour video of the NPR luncheon.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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