Another Blow to NPR: CEO Resigns

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BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN You're watching multisource politics video news analysis from Newsy. Ousted. NPR’s ...
BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN You're watching multisource politics video news analysis from Newsy. Ousted. NPR’s board of directors has accepted the resignation of CEO Vivian Schiller after what media watchers are calling one too many strikes. HLN: “...the CEO of national public radio has resigned in the wake of a huge controversy.” The embattled chief executive first came under fire for her handling of former correspondent Juan Williams in October of 2010. JUAN WILLIAMS, 10/22/2010: “As many of you know, after 10 years of being a loyal employee, NPR fired me for expressing the fear I now feel after 9/11 when I see people in Muslim garb getting on an airplane.” And renewed scrutiny of NPR came Tuesday - when conservative activist James O’Keefe released secretly-recorded video incriminating the operation’s now-former senior VP of fundraising. WCVB REPORTER: “...a radio executive who was caught on camera making some really controversial remarks about the Tea Party.” NPR’s David Folkenflik explains - this was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. “Our clients, but also our corporate board members, felt that this was one misstep, one major black eye too many.” Media critic and Daily Beast Washington Bureau Chief Howie Kurtz says NPR handled the most recent incident pretty well - in denouncing the fundraising exec - but it still wasn’t enough - and Schiller became the sacrificial lamb. “The fact is Vivian Schiller had no margin for error left. In other words even though this isn’t her fault, she had no way of knowing what this guy was saying in this video-taped scam, she is taking the heat. She is taking the fall. ... It just seems NPR was the gang that couldn’t shoot straight lately when it comes to its public image.” All this under the backdrop of heightened Republican calls for de-funding of public broadcasting. But if Republican Mike Pence’s visit to Fox News Wednesday is any indication - those calls aren’t going away. “I think it's right that the CEO step down. I think it would be more right, though, if we seize this time in the fiscal crisis to say it's time to end public funding for NPR. ... These organizations that have a particular viewpoint, that advance a particular l liberal viewpoint ought to do what ever other policy organization does in this town which is raise their own resources...” But the Daily Kos quotes the managing director the Free Press Action Fund -- who says -- this has nothing to do with the budget. “This attack is déjà vu all over again. This bill isn’t about a budget deficit; it’s yet another political witch hunt aimed at silencing serious journalism and quality programming." According to NPR finance reporting - it gets 5.8 percent of its revenues from federal, state and local governments. But in the secretly-recorded video released Tuesday - former fundraising exec Ron Schiller himself said NPR would be - quote - “better off” without federal funding in the long run. So will this hurt NPR? Panelists on MSNBC say - it doesn’t look good - but at the same time - O’Keefe’s undercover video wasn’t in the right. SHUSHANNAH WALSHE, DAILY BEAST: “When you have an executive saying, we don’t need your money, it’s not good.” ROBERT TRAYNHAM, COMCAST: “There’s two wrongs here. The NPR exec who said that should never should have said that, privately or publicly. But also, O’Keefe shouldn’t have. It’s very sad when you can’t even have an honest conversation without it being recorded.” NPR’s senior vice president for legal affairs - Joyce Slocum - will take over as interim CEO. Follow Newsy on Twitter Newsy_Videos to receive daily updates. Get more multisource politics video news analysis from Newsy. Transcript by Newsy.