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NPR CEO Booted Over Right Winger's Candid Camera Stunt


NPR CEO Vivian Schiller has been ousted by the radio outlet's board of directors over an overblown fracas caused by a right-wing video stuntman.

Yesterday we reported that wingnut prankster James O'Keefe 'caught' NPR VP Ron Schiller (no relation) making not-so-shocking comments about the Tea Party. While disparaging, O'Keefe's statements about their xenophobia and race issues weren't anything you couldn't find with a cursory Google, and his sentiments are not out of the ordinary for any average liberal. But the conservative blogosphere ran with it -- timed conveniently around GOP efforts to defund the station -- and today, NPR's Board of Directors decided that for 'to move forward,' Schiller had to go. Board Chairman Dave Edwards, according to NPR: "The events that took place [particularly Ron Schiller's statements and Juan Williams' dismissal] became such a distraction to the organization that in the board's mind it hindered Vivian Schiller's abilty to lead the organization going forward."

Earlier today, the board chairman announced the news:

"It is with deep regret that I tell you that the NPR Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of Vivian Schiller as President and CEO of NPR, effective immediately.

"The Board accepted her resignation with understanding, genuine regret, and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years.

"Vivian brought vision and energy to this organization. She led NPR back from the enormous economic challenges of the previous two years. She was passionately committed to NPR's mission, and to stations and NPR working collaboratively as a local-national news network.

"According to a CEO succession plan adopted by the Board in 2009, Joyce Slocum, SVP of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, has been appointed to the position of Interim CEO. The Board will immediately establish an Executive Transition Committee that will develop a timeframe and process for the recruitment and selection of new leadership.

"I recognize the magnitude of this news – and that it comes on top of what has been a traumatic period for NPR and the larger public radio community. The Board is committed to supporting NPR through this interim period and has confidence in NPR's leadership team."

Ron Schiller had resigned from NPR well before the right-winger's video leaked, headed to a job at the Aspen Institute -- but that plan's shelved, too. The Cutline:

'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,' [an institute] spokesman said in a statement to The Cutline."

Last night, booted xenophobe Juan Williams went on a rampage on Hannity, calling NPR execs 'rude and condescending and they say people like me are bigots because i tell you what I feel.' Sigh.

Read the NPR'sliveblog on the situation here.


AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at March 9, 2011, 6:07am

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