This blog post contains material that may be considered unflattering to members of the "Tea Party." We hope no one secretly videotapes us.
Vivan Schiller, the chief executive of National Public Radio, resigned yesterday in the wake of the release of a "scandalous" video, in which NPR fund-raiser Ronald (no relation) Schiller was caught bad-mouthing Republicans and Tea Partiers to potential NPR donors. The donors were impostors, and the meeting was part of a sting operation conducted by a right-wing provocateur. In the video, Schiller (not to be confused with Schiller) says most members of the Tea Party are "seriously racist." Frankly, this is about as provocative as saying most NBA players are tall, but we understand why people would take offense.
In Schiller's defense--and isn't "Schiller" a great name for a fund-raiser?--he thought he was talking to some Muslims--the same group currently being demonized by Republican congressman and IRA sympathizer Peter King. Schiller may, therefore, simply have been appealing to what he assumed were the sympathies of his audience. Still, one can only condemn such intolerant behavior, especially from someone who represents the liberal-leaning NPR.
Some may argue that, while Schiller should certainly have resigned (as he did), Schiller should not have fallen on her sword. But that's just the kind of outfit NPR runs. They hold themselves to a higher ethical standard. The foot-soldier erred, so the general must resign. We imagine NPR's opponents, including the vast majority of Republicans seeking to defund it, can only agree that Schiller (both of them, but especially the top Schiller) did the right thing. An executive cannot tolerate inappropriate and offensive pandering, even (or especially) if such pandering is aimed at a potentially lucrative audience.
And in that spirit, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker--who was caught in a similar position when liberal pranksters caught him on tape discussing union-busting plans with an impersonator posing as right-wing financier David Koch--today announced his resignation, claiming he could not allow himself to be out-ethicked by NPR. (Well, we can dream, can't we.)
Meanwhile, an NPR search committee has begun the process of hiring a new chief executive. We suggest they stay away from anyone named "Schiller."
"For Lawmaker Examining Terror, a Pro-I.R.A. Past"
"Resignation Comes at Sensitive Time for NPR"
"Walker Receives Prank Call from Koch Impersonator"