A National Public Radio executive who was set to leave the station has apologized for videotaped comments that include saying that Jews control the print media.
Ron Schiller, president of the NPR Foundation and vice president for development, said his resignation scheduled for May 6 would take effect “immediately” after the video was disclosed March 8.
In a videotape made by a right-wing political activist in a sting operation, Schiller was heard making derogatory remarks about the Republican Party, Tea Party activists and the firing of NPR commentator Juan Williams after Williams said on Fox News that he would be concerned if he was on a plane with passengers in Muslim garb.
“I offer my sincere apology to those I offended,” Schiller said March 8, adding that “in an effort to put this unfortunate matter behind us, NPR and I have agreed that my resignation is effective today.”
In the video’s wake, NPR President and Chief Executive Vivian Schiller (no relation to Ron Schiller) also resigned.
Slate reported March 9 that the international nonprofit Aspen Institute, where Ron Schiller was supposed to start next month as director of the Harman-Eisner Artist-in-Residence Program, released a statement saying that Schiller “has informed us that … he does not feel that it’s in the best interests of the Aspen Institute for him to come work here.”
In the video, Schiller was meeting with two men posing as wealthy Muslim would-be donors with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood who said they wanted to make a $5 million contribution to NPR, according to reports. The Muslim donors were discussing Jewish control of the media; Schiller added his sentiments saying that “Zionist influence” doesn’t exist at NPR, but “it’s there in those who own newspapers obviously.”
Schiller also is heard laughing when one of the men jokes that NPR should be known as “National Palestinian Radio.”
The incident has come to light as Republicans in Congress, who have long complained about a liberal bias on public radio, are targeting public broadcasting as an area for budget cuts. — jta