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March 8, 2011 12:20 PM   Subscribe

"Ron Schiller, NPR Foundation's senior vice president for fundraising, was recorded secretly on Feb. 22 by Republican filmmaker James O'Keefe, who is well known for his undercover stunts targeting various agencies. Schiller is seen on a videotape during a luncheon with men who were posing as members of the fictitious Muslim Action Education Center."*
"Among Schiller's comments: Tea Partiers are 'Xenophobic, I mean basically they are; they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people.'

Schiller also stated that NPR 'would be better off in the long run without federal funding,' a comment that is in conflict with the organization's position, NPR reported.'"
posted by ericb (205 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
James O'Keefe previously on MetaFilter.
posted by ericb at 12:22 PM on March 8, 2011


CNN, when NPR goes down you'll be the next target. Remember that as you formulate your coverage.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:23 PM on March 8, 2011 [17 favorites]


Tea Partiers are 'Xenophobic, I mean basically they are; they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people.'

At least it's an ethos.
posted by atrazine at 12:23 PM on March 8, 2011 [54 favorites]


Hopefully this cretin isn't given the time of day by anybody but Breitbart and his ilk, after that pathetic failed Love Boat sexcapade of his.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:23 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's victimizing the Tea Party! They're victims! Oh poor, poor Tea Party!
posted by mr_roboto at 12:24 PM on March 8, 2011 [50 favorites]


Hopefully this cretin isn't given the time of day by anybody but Breitbart and his ilk

Unfortunately his ilk now includes the House of Representatives...
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:25 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jeez, and here I thought we'd make it to Spring Pledge Drive without another embarrassing kerfuffle.
posted by Maaik at 12:25 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Schiller's right.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:25 PM on March 8, 2011 [30 favorites]


Well, they are whiter, older, and wealthier than the average American, so there's the "white, middle-America" part. They're pretty plainly in favor of gun rights and many have carried weapons publicly at demonstrations and protests. And they are roughly 25% more racist than non-Tea Partiers. (Source; primary source). So I don't see what the big deal is, apart from the funding business.
posted by jedicus at 12:25 PM on March 8, 2011 [23 favorites]




So I don't see what the big deal is, apart from the funding business.

Truth has a liberal bias.
posted by yeloson at 12:27 PM on March 8, 2011 [20 favorites]


So what came of his legal troubles after pulling a G. Gordon Liddy?
posted by [citation needed] at 12:27 PM on March 8, 2011


He also, you know, rejected the $5 million in funding that the fake organization was attempting to get him to take.

So, you know, all he did was espouse some personal political convictions, while, I think, making it perfectly clear he was taking off his "NPR" hat, so to speak.

This is such a non-fucking-story. Other than that James O'Keefe is a fucking douchebag, but we knew that.
posted by kbanas at 12:28 PM on March 8, 2011 [65 favorites]


I suppose it's reasonable for NPR to be mad at their vice-president for saying they would be better off without federal funding. Everything else he says seems like personal political opinions which he should be allowed to express in private.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:29 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]




Seems like they were really angling to make it look like NPR was trying to take money from people associated with terrorism but didn't really get anything good on that front.
posted by ghharr at 12:31 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I suppose it's reasonable for NPR to be mad at their vice-president for saying they would be better off without federal funding.

Wha??

Federal funding is critical for public broadcasting... Without the investment of this funding, many public radio and television stations across the country will be forced to go off the air.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:33 PM on March 8, 2011


Interesting that such a high profile executive would go to lunch with two unknowns and tip his hand without thinking, probably not the best poker player.
posted by pwally at 12:34 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I pretty much agree with everything he said.
posted by electroboy at 12:34 PM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


"The Schiller quotes most relevant to the current discussion over funding cuts would seem to be his comments on what would happen if the government cut NPR off.
'Republicans play off the belief among the general population that most of our funding comes from the government. Very little of our funding comes from the government, but they act as if all our funding comes from the government... it is very clear that in the long run we would be better off without federal funding. And the challenge right now is that if we lost it altogether, we'd have a lot of stations go dark.'
The quotes you'll probably hear more about -- Schiller musing about why this Muslim group might have so many gripes with conservatives.
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... it's been hijacked by this group that...

"MUSLIM": The radical, racist, Islamophobic, Tea Party people?

SCHILLER: It's not just Islamophobic, but really xenophobic. Basically, they believe in white, middle America, gun-toting -- it's pretty scary. They're seriously racist, racist people.'
And on the firing of Juan Williams:
'What NPR did I'm very proud of. What NPR stood for is a non-racist, non-bigoted, straightforward telling of the news. Our feeling is that if a person expresses his or her personal 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 that, can he report to the Muslim population, and be believed, for example? And the answer is no. He lost all credibility and that breaks your ethics as a journalist.'
Schiller is a professional fundraiser, not a journalist. His pandering to the group is actually sort of masterful." *
posted by ericb at 12:35 PM on March 8, 2011 [23 favorites]


The fact that this happened in the first place, basically proves the point. Yes, conservatives do hate NPR and are hostile to its mission. Should we really expect the people responsible for carrying out that mission to appreciate and admire conservatives in return?
posted by Naberius at 12:35 PM on March 8, 2011 [24 favorites]


I'm just relieved he didn't lure Schiller onto the rape boat.
posted by box at 12:35 PM on March 8, 2011 [32 favorites]


So, NPR employees sometimes may have opinions that are expressed privately that are not the same as the organization's opinion (duh) and someone had the temerity to actually say that Tea Party people tend as a group to be fairly racist (sorry, wait, I SAY THAT ALL THE TIME) and this is a story.

I don't get it, I guess.

Well, I'm going to have to put my money where my mouth is this year and finally start sending cash to my local NPR affiliate.

I love that at least part of this story is really OMG NPR PEOPLE TALK TO MUSLIMS but somehow the idea that racism is involved is supposed to be *shocking*.
posted by gracedissolved at 12:35 PM on March 8, 2011 [15 favorites]


I can't wait to see the bill that the House introduces to defund Acorn Planned Parenthood NPR.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:36 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]




I'm not sure that he made the argument to defund NPR, like The Atlantic are claiming -- just that the organization would be considerably more effective and stable if one of its primary sources of funding wasn't consistently used as a political gambit.

"NPR would be better off if it did not depend on public funding" and "The Federal Government should continue to fund NPR" are by no means contradictory statements.
posted by schmod at 12:39 PM on March 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


I can't wait to see the bill that the House introduces to defund Acorn Planned Parenthood NPR.

Oh they already did that last week.
posted by jedicus at 12:39 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm so sick of this guy (O'Keefe, not Schiller) - seriously toxic to our democratic system. Where's Captain Planet when we need him?

Furthermore, I wouldn't trust anything on that video that wasn't independently confirmed by another source, such as meeting minutes taken by Schiller.
'Republicans play off the belief among the general population that most of our funding comes from the government. Very little of our funding comes from the government, but they act as if all our funding comes from the government... it is very clear that in the long run we would be better off without federal funding. And the challenge right now is that if we lost it altogether, we'd have a lot of stations go dark.'
For example, while this does strictly mean "Schiller thinks that NPR would be better off without government funding", it DOES NOT mean that he thinks that NPR-affiliate stations (what you listen to in your car) would be better off without government funding. He pretty explicitely states that w/out funding, NPR-affiliates would go dark.
posted by muddgirl at 12:40 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's good to see that being constantly exposed and discredited hasn't stopped O'Keefe from getting copious coverage by the liberal media.
posted by Legomancer at 12:41 PM on March 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


I can't wait to see the bill that the House introduces to defund Acorn Planned Parenthood NPR.
"Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn is leading the GOP effort in the House to defund National Public Radio (and, in a separate bill, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting). I spoke with him a short time ago about the sting video ... 'I am amazed at the condescension and arrogance that we saw in the sting video," Lamborn told me. 'They seem to be viewing themselves as elites living in an ivory tower, and they are obviously out of touch with ordinary Americans.'" *
posted by ericb at 12:42 PM on March 8, 2011


O'Keefe has been more effective at getting me to donate to my local NPR station than years of pledge drives so that's a positive, I guess.
posted by ghharr at 12:43 PM on March 8, 2011 [16 favorites]


The question now is how O'Keefe and Fox News are going to edit this.

O'Keefe: How would you describe the management of NPR?

Schiller: They're seriously racist, racist people.
posted by mgrichmond at 12:44 PM on March 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


I have to confess, I'd be quite interested to learn who pays him to do this stuff.
posted by mhoye at 12:45 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is actually pretty pathetic. Schiller didn't actually say anything that's remotely controversial to my mind.

The Tea Party is demonstrably xenophobic and (I would argue) racist. If NPR has guts they won't back down from this.
posted by Avenger at 12:45 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'd be better off if I didn't need this artificial heart doesn't mean fuck you I don't want it.

But hey, balance the budget by de-funding NPR. I can pay my morgage now that I stopped giving my kids lunch money!
posted by Ad hominem at 12:45 PM on March 8, 2011 [12 favorites]


O'Keefe is a liar and scammer whose sole purpose in life seems to be distorting the truth. If he puts out a video, a the entire point is to present bullshit as truth. He will never, ever, put out a video worth taking at face value, or worth drawing meaning from. If O'Keefe did it, it is worthless.

What is the point of helping him with this post?
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:46 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn... 'They seem to be viewing themselves as elites living in an ivory tower, and they are obviously out of touch with ordinary Americans.'"

Hey Pot, Kettle called.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:50 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


There really is nothing to see here, other than the desperate lengths these clowns will go to in their attempts to be relevant.
posted by Mister_A at 12:51 PM on March 8, 2011


By the way, when are people going to "infiltrate" the tea party and video tape. Has anyone tried? Or do we have some sense of decorum and fair play that prevents us from twisting the facts to score points.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:52 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


By the way, when are people going to "infiltrate" the tea party and video tape. Has anyone tried?

Yep.
posted by empath at 12:54 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


You don't need to be sneaky to make the Tea Party look like a pack of fools.
posted by Mister_A at 12:54 PM on March 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


By the way, when are people going to "infiltrate" the tea party and video tape. Has anyone tried?

No infiltration necessary. Just set up a tripod and let nature take its course.
posted by Shepherd at 12:54 PM on March 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, they do make it easy.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:56 PM on March 8, 2011


I have to confess, I'd be quite interested to learn who pays him to do this stuff.

Andrew Breitbart pays him.
posted by Legomancer at 12:56 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


O'Keefe is an embarrassment to my generation.
posted by spiderskull at 12:57 PM on March 8, 2011


NPR sting also nets ... Pamela Geller?
Conservative activist James O'Keefe today released a sting video showing an NPR fundraising official saying impolitic things to a couple of (fake) potential Muslim donors. A key part of the sting was the creation of a hoax website for the fake group the donors represented, the Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC).

The website for MEAC read a lot like a right-wing cartoon version of radical Islam -- so perhaps it's not surprising that a few notoriously anti-Muslim bloggers were apparently taken in by the hoax website. (It's not clear that the NPR officials ever saw the site.)

Pamela Geller, the blogger who deserves much of the credit for starting the "ground zero mosque" controversy, seized on MEAC's website way back in January, pointing to passages on the website that promoted the bogeyman of sharia:
"We must combat intolerance to spread acceptance of Sharia across the world," the site read. And added: "One path is continued confusion, hatred, intolerance and discrimination, and the other is the truth and beauty of the Quran. America has been struggling with which road to choose primarily because it does not know or understand the beauty of our holy teachings."
There's a chance that Geller was in on O'Keefe's hoax all along (I've emailed her inquiring about this), but her January post certainly comes off as genuine. Here's what Geller wrote about MEAC, offering a "hat tip [to] Western feminista" for pointing out the site:
"I'd rather blow up the world than live as a slave. As for [MEAC chairman] Bin Talal, we have to stop financing our executioners. Enough dollars for jihad. We need to throw the left-enemy out of power and start drilling and mining our own resources. We must throw off the shackles that the enemy within has enslaved us with."
Geller today has a new post up in which she writes:
"This sting site was the front for a ruse to see if NPR was jihadist-sympathizing. They didn't just take the bait, they surprised even the most jaded among us."
But Geller wasn't the only one. The blog "Canary in the Coal Mine," which says it tracks anti-semitism, also wrote about MEAC in January. "SHARIA FOR ALL! FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH: http://www.meactrust.org/" was the title of the post. From there, the blog Creeping Sharia also wrote about MEAC in February:
"Another Muslim organization in the U.S. actively promoting Islamic sharia law in the United States. This group doesn’t hide it though."
To summarize: A fake website about Muslims created by right-wing bloggers confirmed everything right-wing bloggers believe about Muslims.
posted by ericb at 12:57 PM on March 8, 2011 [42 favorites]


This really isn't much different than the prank phone call to Scott Brown, that nothing was said that showed a secret agenda or revealed anything that wasn't pretty obvious anyway. The political supporters of NPR probably don't disagree too much with what was said, but this will gin up anti-NPR fervor amongst the Tea Party and give the GOP an excuse to bring the hammer down on NPR. Whether NPR will be better off without federal funds, I don't know. I suspect they might, but I'll be damned if it should be decided over a non-event like this.
posted by electroboy at 12:57 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ad hominem, I don't think it's really necessary. Most of them are pretty open and public about their racism and bigotry and ignorance. You don't even have to bait them into saying something stupid. They generally open their mouths and stupid falls out on it's own accord. I am honestly not trying to generalize here. In every recorded statement made by someone affiliated with the Tea Party movement, I have yet to hear them say anything coherently like a plan to "fix the government" or whatever they are spouting off about at any given moment. From healthcare to government spending (you know, that thing that keeps the economy going when 90% private capitol is being hoarded by less than 1% of the population), to social issues, I have yet to hear the Tea Party advocate for anything other than a filtered down and cryptic regurgitation of Grover Norquist 'drown it in the bathtub' bullshit.

Oh, and the crap I've been hearing lately about "public employee's are paid too much." I don't think so. In fact, I think firefighters, teachers, and police should all be paid better than anything the private sector has to offer. You know why? Because when you need their services, they are there, no questions asked, and no bill coming to bankrupt you. It's one of the nice things about living in a civilized nation. Gah. I could rant about this more, but I'm going to finish my salad instead.
posted by daq at 12:59 PM on March 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


The question now is how O'Keefe and Fox News are going to edit this.

It's heavily-edited.

It's 11 minutes out of two hours of footage [video].
posted by ericb at 1:04 PM on March 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


James O'Keefe is roaring right up my "Americans who I would like to punch in the face" list.

Don't worry, Joe. Your place at #1 is as yet unchallenged
posted by Aizkolari at 1:06 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


This really isn't much different than the prank phone call to Scott Brown...


I strongly suspect that you mean Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
posted by ericb at 1:07 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


How long 'til we can get a lefty to secretly tape Project Veritas meetings?
posted by klangklangston at 1:07 PM on March 8, 2011


Georgetown restaurant? Isn't DC a bit draconian in their laws about secretly taping someone?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:08 PM on March 8, 2011


How long til we can get a lefty to sit through one of their meetings without vomiting explosively and then running down the street stabbing at random?
posted by elizardbits at 1:10 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ugh, yes. Walker.
posted by electroboy at 1:10 PM on March 8, 2011


The tea party is openly racist and xenophobic, a fact which has been confirmed again and again and yet saying it in a private conversation gets you in trouble. Amazing!
posted by cell divide at 1:11 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


"And some of the 'embarrassing' comments are in the eye of the beholder. Schiller, for instance, says that to leave Muslim voices out of the news would be like leaving women's voices out of the news. But would anyone, liberal or conservative, make a credible argument otherwise, for leaving any group's perspective out of news coverage? (The prank—which uses 'Muslim Brotherhood' more often in screen titles than in the actual conversation—seems premised on the idea that meeting with a Muslim group and being in favor of including Muslim perspectives is inherently wrong.)"*
posted by ericb at 1:11 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pamela Geller

I think this woman is actually mentally ill, to be honest.
posted by empath at 1:11 PM on March 8, 2011


James O'Keefe is what Joe Francis would be if even the copious amounts of liquor and date rape drugs still couldn't get him laid.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:12 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Media Matters: Why Would Anyone Trust What O'Keefe Says About His NPR Video?
" .... Given his record of systematically misleading people about his videos and his use of other dishonest tactics, it makes no sense for people to take him at his word. That should be kept in mind as details emerge about what, exactly, happened."
posted by ericb at 1:13 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suppose it's reasonable for NPR to be mad at their vice-president for saying they would be better off without federal funding.

Wha??

Federal funding is critical for public broadcasting... Without the investment of this funding, many public radio and television stations across the country will be forced to go off the air.


muddgirl mentioned it earlier, but to reiterate: NPR != "public broadcasting". NPR is a specific corporation whereas public broadcasting is a general description of how a radio or TV station is funded (and also, doesn't necessarily mean government-funded).
posted by MikeKD at 1:14 PM on March 8, 2011


I interact with my local Tea Party group both as myself and undercover as a supporter of their efforts. Undercover helps to know what they're planning operationally, but it's never been necessary to use that aspect of my interactions with them to find the insanity and cognitive dissonance. Just today, said local group posted an item saying that the majority of taxpayers in WI are against the pay and benefits currently offered to public sector workers there, when in their own news site link it was clearly stated that this was not the case either in WI or nationally.

At the local branch level, we are really not dealing with geniuses here.
posted by rollbiz at 1:16 PM on March 8, 2011


Oh honey, you just know this guy has some major skeletons in his closet. Somebody please find them pronto.
posted by NorthernLite at 1:17 PM on March 8, 2011


ericb: "I can't wait to see the bill that the House introduces to defund Acorn Planned Parenthood NPR.
Wait... Is this where the shit I heard about Planned Parenthood being some sex slave enablers coming from? In fact, I heard it on NPR when they were discussing the Title X bullshit, and an anti-abortion activist was like "Planned Parenthood is engaging in sex slavery" I heard the explanation, but what a crock of right-wing propaganda. But is that where this bunk came from? O'Keefe?

God I hate that guy.
posted by symbioid at 1:18 PM on March 8, 2011


How is any story on O'Keefe presented without the disclaimer that he is a convicted felon and routinely lies with edits?
posted by anthill at 1:19 PM on March 8, 2011 [5 favorites]




nothing was said that showed a secret agenda or revealed anything that wasn't pretty obvious anyway.

What's funny/sad is that wikileaks and the Scott Walker call did reveal a lot of scary truths, and yet so far nothing will come of either except those who revealed it will get punished/put to death/tried as traitors. But lets defund NPR! That's what really matters!!

Every day it seems this world is beyond saving. :\
posted by usagizero at 1:23 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


What if the Tea Party was Black?
posted by ericb at 1:23 PM on March 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


That charge was a misdemeanor, anthill. No need to trump up the guy's skeevieness, he does that all on his own. That's a word, right?
posted by waitingtoderail at 1:24 PM on March 8, 2011


I pretty much agree with him about NPR (and PBS in general) being better off without public funding. I would like these organizations to work more like CSPAN, either via a small levy or a completely donation-based model.

I wish PBS would come up with something more watchable than those awful, awful fund drives. I love supporting my local PBS affiliate, but I hate their overly-earnest groveling for money every 6 weeks and self-stroking promo spots in between. I'd double my donation in a flash if they switched to ' ʞɔɐq ǝɹnʇɔıd ɹɐןnbǝɹ ǝɥʇ ʇuɐʍ noʎ ɟı 001$ puǝs.'

To summarize: A fake website about Muslims created by right-wing bloggers confirmed everything right-wing bloggers believe about Muslims.

If the extremist fringe is starting to eat its own tail that actually seems like a net positive.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:24 PM on March 8, 2011


"Why Would Anyone Trust What O'Keefe Says About His NPR Video?"

Uh, because it conforms to their beliefs and they have a vested interest in the narrative?

I mean, of course this shit is slanted, and of course it's seized-on by the reactionary right. Or did mediamatters mean "Why would anyone who isn't a dishonest moron trust O'Keefe?"
posted by klangklangston at 1:25 PM on March 8, 2011


Wait... Is this where the shit I heard about Planned Parenthood being some sex slave enablers coming from? In fact, I heard it on NPR when they were discussing the Title X bullshit, and an anti-abortion activist was like "Planned Parenthood is engaging in sex slavery" I heard the explanation, but what a crock of right-wing propaganda. But is that where this bunk came from? O'Keefe?

God I hate that guy.

No, not him directly. Lila Rose was the one who did the PP videos. Her and James are buddies, and are/were schooled by/funded by the same people. (Who also brought us James Gannon, heh)
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:25 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


By the way, when are people going to "infiltrate" the tea party and video tape. Has anyone tried?

No need to go undercover. Just ask them questions. They'll answer.

Two college student's mini documentary: The Tea Party & The Circus - Final Healthcare Reform Protest.
posted by ericb at 1:27 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Say what you will about his politics, but the guy really knows something about landscape photography. He's really something special, I'm tellin' you.
posted by newdaddy at 1:32 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


It seems like public broadcasting COULD survive without federal funding. . I know I would double my dues, without too much pain.

I was wondering if the Republicans could go after the BANDWIDTH that NPR has. . .the broadcast frequency that each station has. . .and figure out some way to take that away.
posted by Danf at 1:33 PM on March 8, 2011


Tea Party: "Did you see that? NPR admits to our pretend Muslims that it includes Palestinians in its news coverage. That proves we aren't racist xenophobes! QED."

At least I think that's part of the "logic" going on here.
posted by Camofrog at 1:38 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]




Republican filmmaker? Please, please don't classify this guy next to luminaries like John De Bello. O'Keefe is a camwhore. Deny him your attention, which he seems to need with an intensity which should, frankly, make you uncomfortable.
posted by Vetinari at 1:49 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is such a non-fucking-story. Other than that James O'Keefe is a fucking douchebag, but we knew that.

Seriously, James O'Keefe's fucking douchbaggery should be the whole story. The fact that he continues to be able to run these pathetic gotcha stings and anyone pays attention demonstrates a serious lack of ability on the part of the non Fox-affiliated media to send a clear message.

"This guy lies. Here is proof. He has done it repeatedly. He is not trustworthy, We think this might be because he is a fucking liar."

Make it clear enough to the nation that O'Keefe can't be trusted and hopefully he'll finally go away.
posted by quin at 1:49 PM on March 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


It doesn't matter if it's true.
If it reinforces their beliefs, it becomes true.

To paraphrase Breitbart, "It's not about being correct, it's about winning. It's about destroying the other side.".
posted by Theta States at 1:58 PM on March 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


I also find it very surprising that such a high-profile exec would sit for a lunch with two unknowns. They say they're with the Muslim Brotherhood. They sent a limo? What happened before this? Were there emails and phone calls? Can I call up NPR and get a meeting like this?

Again, they sent a limo? Dude, WTF? Since when do donors send limos? Isn't that the other way around -- don't you want to impress the donor? Invite the donor to your office and lay out the spread?

Doesn't this raise any red flags?

Dude should be fired for just being stupid.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:59 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


90,000$ million saved?
posted by clavdivs at 2:03 PM on March 8, 2011


Cool Papa Bell, you seem to be assuming that their summary of events is accurate. Given the varying stories around the Rape Boat and Acorn "films", I'm not sure that's a valid assumpion.

Not that it matters, of course.
posted by lodurr at 2:04 PM on March 8, 2011


sn't DC a bit draconian in their laws about secretly taping someone?

No. It's a one-party consent town.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:10 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


11 minutes out of two hours?

"Somebody had to fund NPR, then I noticed it was spending your sweet taxes. I grab your sweet taxes. Oh, just thinking about your taxes. I just wish I had your sweet, sweet, s-s-s-sweeet taxes."
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:16 PM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


When will this guy just give it up and go back to painting flowers that look vaguely like lady parts?
posted by The Violet Cypher at 2:16 PM on March 8, 2011 [8 favorites]




T.D. Strange -- see above. ; )
posted by ericb at 2:20 PM on March 8, 2011


Reading fail. I will now read 3 articles on Biggovernment.com as penitence.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:24 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if there are any aspiring filmmakers out there that would like to have somebody else on tape saying that the Tea Party is xenophobic and that firing Juan Williams was the right decision in terms of journalistic credibility, I'm available. I don't have an important job or anything, but I'd be willing to help out if you're just looking for muckraking B-roll.
posted by penduluum at 2:24 PM on March 8, 2011




Cool Papa Bell, you seem to be assuming that their summary of events is accurate.

Well, I see your point, but let's make some broad assumptions. Can I call NPR and get a meeting like this, out of the blue? Probably not. If I could, that's just weird, don't you think? Are they not that busy?

So, that means there were phone calls and emails of introduction, right? Presumably, someone checked out the Web site. With names and a Web site, you can try to look people up -- even a basic 10-second Google search would show you that this fictional company was strangely alone -- no incoming links, right? No mentions anywhere else? Wouldn't that be weird? And again, I wonder whether or not NPR invited the donor to visit them, which would be usual, rather than the other way round.

These are all chances to sort out who you're meeting with, and why. It's just all very odd. Odd enough to question the competence and attention of the "senior vice president for fundraising" for such a public entity.

I mean, I doubt this was a Mission: Impossible style scheme starring Tom Cruise. But is it really that easy to fool someone like this?

Dude, you're an idiot. You're fired.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:25 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


The tea party is openly racist and xenophobic, a fact which has been confirmed again and again and yet saying it in a private conversation gets you in trouble. Amazing!

Ah, but see, you just need to know the mentality:

SOMEONE MIGHT EVEN CALL US RACIST. Which is actually the worst thing that can happen IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. It is worse than meteors of fire falling from the sky and eradicating the entire earth, worse than a lake of magma opening up and swallowing the North American continent, worse than an army of demons emerging from the depths of hell bearing many hot pokers with which to poke us. THAT IS HOW BAD IT IS. Surely it must be worse than EXPERIENCING racism, right? RIGHT? IT'S TOTALLY WORSE."
posted by yeloson at 2:30 PM on March 8, 2011


O'Keefe's fake Muslim website has been up for several months?

I guarantee if we looked trough his tapes, we'd find hundreds of other interviews in which people spot the fake, or refuse to say what he's hoping. It's what happened at Planned Parenthood -- he just went from office to office until he found the few minutes of footage he could edit down to make his point. And I bet some of the failed interviews on this particular ploy are with other NPR officials.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:31 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dude, you're an idiot. You're fired.

Before this tape surfaced Schiller had already announced he'd be joining the Aspen Institute.

Aspen Institute Picks Schiller To Direct Arts Program.
posted by ericb at 2:32 PM on March 8, 2011


From Eric Cantor Slams NPR Over O'Keefe Prank:

"...this disturbing video makes clear that taxpayer dollars should no longer be appropriated to NPR," Cantor said in a statement. "Not only have top public broadcasting executives finally admitted that they do not need taxpayer dollars to survive...

Cantor is as bad at selective editing as O'Keefe himself, Schilling said:

'Republicans play off the belief among the general population that most of our funding comes from the government. Very little of our funding comes from the government, but they act as if all our funding comes from the government... it is very clear that in the long run we would be better off without federal funding. And the challenge right now is that if we lost it altogether, we'd have a lot of stations go dark.'
posted by quin at 2:38 PM on March 8, 2011


Make it clear enough to the nation that O'Keefe can't be trusted and hopefully he'll finally go away.

No, make it clear to the nation that he can't be trusted and he'll be embraced with open arms and worshipped.

Duh! Winning!
posted by blucevalo at 2:40 PM on March 8, 2011


Aspen Institute Picks Schiller To Direct Arts Program.

"I am thrilled to join the Aspen Institute community. The Institute—with its history, its leadership, and its association with a community known around the world..."

"You're fired."

"What?"

"We have some lovely parting gifts."

Seriously. Too many people getting laid off. But not enough people getting fired.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:41 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


What did he say in that video that was a firing offence?
posted by PenDevil at 2:47 PM on March 8, 2011




Phelps:

"Rollin you will play the first donor, Willy you handle the donor with an accent, do not say too much and we want it that way. Cinnamon has embedded herself as the targets staffer. Barney has invented something called the Intranet in which we will broadcast the interview"
posted by clavdivs at 2:50 PM on March 8, 2011


This Thursday is Rep. Peter King's (R. - NY) congressional hearing on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response.”

I want that piece of shit out so bad, just looking at him gives my intestines peristaltic contractions.
posted by Amanojaku at 2:53 PM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


What did he say in that video that was a firing offence?

Well, his stance on funding is arguable, at the very least, as it arguably contradicts the policy of his employer. And while others will take no beef with him "taking off the NPR hat," I don't buy that myself, because when you're in certain business roles, the nature of the business is that you don't get to "take off the hat." You're on stage 24-7. Them's the breaks; you knew (or should have known) the job was dangerous when you took it.

But the main thing, in my view, is getting taken in by this in the first place. Like I said, he didn't get hoodwinked by the Impossible Missions Force. His bullshit meter just didn't go off.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:54 PM on March 8, 2011



This Thursday is Rep. Peter King's (R. - NY)

Is this the same Peter King who was a bagman for the IRA during their terrorist years? Well, isn't that a cognitively dissonant fact...
posted by mikelieman at 2:54 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course development executives meet with potential donors. That's their job. This O'Keefe fellow is the odd one. Check out his Wikipedia entry. His resume includes:

1) Dressing up in a fur coat and taking a faux hooker to a charity, where he pretends to be a pimp seeking advice from "liberals" about tax evasion and prostitution

2) Staging a seduction scene (sex toys, champagne, strawberries, camera near bed) on a boat and attempting to get close enough to a pretty "liberal" journalist that he can pretend to try to seduce her

3) Putting on a fake beard, pretending to be a rich Muslim and pretending he's going to give millions of dollars to "liberal" media, then riding away in a limo. Not sure it's O'Keefe in the video, since fake Muslim #2 is identified as "Simon Templar" (dashing Robin-Hood-type burglar hero of The Saint), but it looks like him

4) Starring in a high-school production of the Gershwin musical "Crazy For You" where, as "Bobby", he pretends to be the (rich, philandering) theatrical producer "Zangler" (and sings "I Got Rhythm") in order to woo a chorus girl

5) Recording it (except for the high-school musical, as far as I know, but I'd bet there's documentary evidence of the show floating around somewhere) and attempting to use the materials to embarrass "liberals" through the use of highly selective editing

O'Keefe is kind of squirrelly-looking out of costume, but I suppose it's presumptuous to assume that his taste for (hirsute, prosperous, "dangerous") drag is based on feelings of inadequacy - maybe it just gives him a tingle. Still, the part where he repeatedly impersonates someone relatively rich/powerful and tries (unsuccessfully) to impress people he identifies as "liberals" while using video to insist that he really doesn't mean it, it's all fake, and really he's a conservative, seems to indicate that he's trying to deal with some deep-seated feeling of rejection while concealing his desire for acceptance behind a hastily-constructed facade of political ideology. Either that or he just wants to be in show business (not that there's anything wrong with that).

All of which would fall somewhere between cute and banal, but for the fact that his timid little shenanigans seem to pass for political discourse.

It looks like letting them fund "Car Talk" isn't the way to go about it, but it might not be a bad idea to figure out how the West might try and come to terms with the world's largest and oldest Muslim political organization. In pursuit of which, the Muslim Brotherhood's political platform can be found here . Check out the "15 Principles for Agreement". Contrast/compare with U.S. Bill of Rights and The Tea Party's "Contract from America". Can we find grounds for adult discussion?
posted by jcrcarter at 3:04 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is this the same Peter King who was a bagman for the IRA during their terrorist years?

Yep. One and the same!
Rep. King Defends Past Support Of IRA; Current Focus On Muslims.
posted by ericb at 3:04 PM on March 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


It looks like letting them fund "Car Talk" isn't the way to go about it ...

FWIW, Car Talk is a production of Boston University's WBUR and relies very little, if at all, on government funding.
"While member support is WBUR’s most vital source of revenue, your federal tax dollars do provide a small part of WBUR’s funding."*
posted by ericb at 3:13 PM on March 8, 2011


Congrats O'Keefe, you just got me to donate to NPR!
posted by Mick at 3:29 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it kosher to solicit donations as if you're a tax-exempt non-profit when you're really not? That meactrust.org site claims all donations are tax-deductible but I cannot find it, nor Project Veritas, in Publication 78 online searches. The site appears to be accepting donations online as well as via post. Just curious.
posted by SpaceBass at 4:08 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it be fun to somehow get James O'Keefe on a secretly recorded video planning his next "big" project? And then leak it online?

I wouldn't want to be in the same room with the man, so I'm not the person to even attempt this. But maybe if I suggest it here, someone will read it and actually do it.

Because, you know. Turnabout being fair play, and all that.
posted by hippybear at 4:13 PM on March 8, 2011


Can we find grounds for adult discussion?

I know you are, but what am I?
posted by Joe Beese at 4:15 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good thing I got rid of cable TV a few months ago; I'm going to divert some of that savings to PBS and NPR now.
posted by Soliloquy at 4:17 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here is NPR's own reporting on All Things Considered. Schiller has been placed on administrative leave. Note the 6:25pm update where NPR reports on itself.

I'm with Cool Papa Bell. Schiller is an idiot. (It won't help that he's shovelling food into his mouth, and masticating it to a fare-the-well, in between damning remarks.)

All that said, I do think he's right that anti-intellectualism is alive and well in the United States. Not that this is news.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:20 PM on March 8, 2011




Well, I see your point, but let's make some broad assumptions. Can I call NPR and get a meeting like this, out of the blue? Probably not. If I could, that's just weird, don't you think? Are they not that busy?

So, that means there were phone calls and emails of introduction, right?
If someone out of the blue offers you $5 million dollars and would like to meet, are you going to turn them down (assuming it isn't totally unusual for people to donate money to you). People don't look gift horses in the mouth. If it turns out not to be a good match, that's not really a huge loss.

People don't generally expect that they be being scammed, why would they?
posted by delmoi at 4:35 PM on March 8, 2011


O'Keefe is an embarrassment to my generation.

Not to mention the name of O'Keefe, and the initial J.

posted by jokeefe at 4:53 PM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


Public radio would definitely be better off without government funding. Producing radio isn't too expensive, and NPR caters to an educated, wealthy demographic that has no other place to turn for broadcast news. If they went private, they could give up on trying to be perfectly ambivalent in political discussions and support positions that make logical sense. And they'd give conservatives one less reason to feel victimized by the liberal elites.

Public TV, on the other hand, is in terrible financial shape and would probably fold except for government funding. We're not fighting for Terry Gross, we're fighting for McNeil-Lehrer.
posted by miyabo at 5:34 PM on March 8, 2011


So when is somebody going to make a site that allows to me to donate to NPR and specifically site this fucking idiotic bullshit as the reason why I'm donating?
posted by youthenrage at 5:40 PM on March 8, 2011


On the donation page I just got done filling out for KIOS, there's a field for comments such as "This idiotic O'Keefe bullshit is the reason for my donation"
posted by Sportbilly at 5:51 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I turned on my TV at 7pm to see if the News Hour on PBS was covering this story. The screen was BLACK. Still is, almost 2 hours later. The other channels are working fine. Is this a fund raising gimmick? I just called my cable provider, and they said it's a "network problem" and they've had some other complaints. All those times they said, "imagine if you turned us on one day, and we weren't there...". It's not a pretty sight.
posted by Corvid at 5:52 PM on March 8, 2011


We're not fighting for Terry Gross, we're fighting for McNeil-Lehrer.

Good grief. Robert MacNeil left the program in 1995.
posted by hippybear at 6:24 PM on March 8, 2011


*cite
posted by youthenrage at 6:26 PM on March 8, 2011


Christ, this guy has no shame or ethical boundaries. He's the lowest of the low and the equivalent of what he does is to pick out the weakest kid in the schoolyard and proceed to beat the shit out of him and then lie and say he wasn't the one who started it.

If I was NPR, I would say damn the torpedoes and proceed to crucify the guy on the radio, every fucking day. Expose his lies, his backers, his sociopathic tendencies and his grotesque views towards women and minorities.

You know, there's that saying, don't start a war with someone who buys ink buy the barrel, Well fuck him -- Don't start a war with people who 100,000 watt transmitters in every major media market in the country.

Really, enough with NPR turning the other cheek, every single fucking time. This is an existential issue and this should not only defend themselves, but not take shit anymore from the right.
posted by Skygazer at 7:03 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Juan Williams responds.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:06 PM on March 8, 2011


Juan Williams as outcast scourge of NPR doesn't play all that well in my book. But, then again, you never know what you'll see on public internet.
posted by localhuman at 9:33 PM on March 8, 2011


Shh, they'll hear you.
posted by ambulocetus at 9:41 PM on March 8, 2011


"NPR reported" link goes to Atlantic Article which, at the very bottom states:

"Full disclosure: The Atlantic enjoys a partnership with the Aspen Institute. Atlantic and Aspen co-host the annual Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado." (previously)


What an odd assortment of characters leading this endeavor:

Board members on Aspen Institute include (among others) Madeleine Albright, Sylvia Earle, Henry Louis Gates, David Gergen, David H. Koch, Queen Noor of Jordan, and Condoleezza Rice. Walter Isaacson is President and CEO.
posted by HyperBlue at 11:31 PM on March 8, 2011


Vivian Schiller is out at NPR.
posted by sugarfish at 6:24 AM on March 9, 2011




MoveOn: No One Should Take James O'Keefe Seriously
This is part of a well documented effort by O'Keefe, Breitbart and many others on the right to use so-called 'stings' to target people they disagree with. As we have seen with past videos - like Planned Parenthood or Shirley Sherrod--the videos are often times heavily edited and the whole truth doesn't come out for days. O'Keefe has a long history of ridiculous stunts. Remember this is the guy who was arrested in New Orleans for trying to tap Senator Landrieu's phone and once tried to come up with an outlandish scheme to lure a CNN reporter onto a 'palace of pleasure' to embarrass the network. I just don't understand why anyone takes him seriously.

NPR is a vital source of independent journalism. That is why more than 1.2 million people have signed a petition we will deliver next week telling Congress not to defund NPR. If anything, stunts like this from O'Keefe show why we need strong independent media outlets.
posted by ericb at 6:41 AM on March 9, 2011


Vivian Schiller is out at NPR.

Confirmed by NPR.org, Schiller has resigned.


For clarity sake: Ron Schiller is not related to Vivian Schiller. Ron Schiller had already been selected to move to a new job at the Aspen Institute; Vivian Schiller has resigned her post as NPR President and CEO.
posted by ericb at 6:45 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you, ericb. I was just realizing how confusing my post could be.
posted by rollbiz at 6:45 AM on March 9, 2011


as far as the 'Ron Schiller is an idiot for falling for this' thing, there are points that are being left out and answers I don't yet have, e.g.:

Schiller apparently didn't even take the offer upstairs to management, it was so obviously tainted. So all he "fell for" was an invitation to lunch, which is only polite to accept if someone is offering you a shitload of money.

Regarding that invitation to dinner: Is O'Keefe's version of events accurate? E.g., did they bring Schiller to lunch in a limo? If so, what kind of a limo? I got driven around in "limos" a bunch of time while on job interviews or on site at a client -- a limo in hack parlance is simply a taxi cab that drives longer routes. (Occasionally it's also a little bit nicer.)

If O'Keefe is pointing to a limo and saying 'we picked up Ron Schiller in a limo', do we know he means that limo? And if he does, how do we know he's not lying? ("Q: How do you know when James O'Keefe is lying? A: Tape is rolling.")

Ron Schiller could be an idiot and it's certainly arguable that talking out of school is a breach of fundraising ethics. But I can't tell you how many times I've been with people in sales or marketing roles with a large company who spoke frankly and against company policy -- usually, I have assumed, as a way of winning my trust.

Does Ron Schiller deserve to be fired for it? I don't know, maybe. The comments about conservative opponents of NPR and PBS, while wholly accurate as far as I can tell, were quite impolitic for a person in his position. But the considered statement about whether NPR could or should do without federal funding was, when taken as a full statement, not really even the slightest bit controversial. I'm honestly not even sure it contradicts policy, since he's clearly and explicitly stating that this is his personal opinion.
posted by lodurr at 6:59 AM on March 9, 2011


Jesus, so only Fox News executives get to be blatantly, openly partisan now? It's only okay to have strong personal political opinions if you're a Republican? WTF. It's a shame it's come down to the CEO of NPR stepping down over this hatchet job. NPR should have fought back. Fox News' chief Roger Ailes was a Republican political operative and speech writer for Nixon earlier in his career, continues to have all sorts of known, open ties to radical conservative political organizations, and has said and done far more brazenly partisan things than this, and yet, none of that stuff has even generated a whiff of scandal in the media. What a ridiculous double-standard the media's got going here!
posted by saulgoodman at 6:59 AM on March 9, 2011


Vivian Schiller is no loss, as far as I can see. Her management style and execution left much to be desired. They're better off without her. That she is going in this way, however, is a pretty serious problem.
posted by lodurr at 7:02 AM on March 9, 2011


Jesus, so only Fox News executives get to be blatantly, openly partisan now? It's only okay to have strong personal political opinions if you're a Republican?

Fox News is a private company that doesn't receive government funding.

Fox News' chief Roger Ailes was a Republican political operative and speech writer for Nixon earlier in his career, continues to have all sorts of known, open ties to radical conservative political organizations, and has said and done far more brazenly partisan things than this, and yet, none of that stuff has even generated a whiff of scandal in the media. What a ridiculous double-standard the media's got going here!

Roger Ailes doesn't receive government funding.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:07 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus, so only Fox News executives get to be blatantly, openly partisan now?

Yeah, can we not aim to model NPR after the shining beacon of shit that is Fox News?
posted by rollbiz at 7:09 AM on March 9, 2011


Déjà Vu: James O'Keefe Releases Yet Another Suspicious Video
Conservative activist James O'Keefe has released a video which supposedly shows Ron Schiller, a senior NPR executive, making controversial remarks to two people posing as members of a "Muslim Brotherhood front group."

Given O'Keefe's long history of doctoring video and using dishonest tactics, this latest release warrants much skepticism.

The video is posted on O'Keefe's site Project Veritas, along with a disclosure that it "does contain one brief section in which the audio is redacted in order to ensure the safety of an NPR overseas correspondent." The redacted portion starts at about 00:59:43 and ends at about 01:01:00. This is not the portion being called into question.

The suspicious portion starts at about 1:39:46. At this time, Betsy Lilely, NPR's director of institutional giving, says, "NPR is" -- two words that loop continuously until about 01:40:40. Meanwhile the video continues to change (with a waiter apparently serving food) and the timestamp continues to run.

Now, this could have been a mere glitch in the audio. Those things happen. But keeping in mind O'Keefe's propensity to engage in deceptive editing, this raises a serious question: why point out that a section of the video has been redacted and then not point out this portion? Had it been an audio glitch and had O'Keefe indicated such, it would have been less suspicious. But the fact that O'Keefe made no mention of this portion is highly suspicious and makes one wonder if O'Keefe is hiding something. [with video clip].
posted by ericb at 7:09 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


BTW -- "NPR receives about 2 percent of its revenue from federal grants, while its member stations get about 10 percent of their funding from federal and state governments."
posted by ericb at 7:11 AM on March 9, 2011




So then an accurate description of the events would be that these guys picked up an NPR fundraiser in a Lincoln Town Car, took him to lunch and he gently fellated them as is the custom with fundraisers but said nothing particularly controversial. Got it.
posted by electroboy at 7:22 AM on March 9, 2011


to sir with millipedes -- So, if your organization receives government funding, your employees can not express their opinions privately or even in public?
posted by ericb at 7:24 AM on March 9, 2011


CBS News:
"And though NPR is widely seen as publicly funded, the majority of its funding does not come (even indirectly) from taxpayers. NPR doesn't receive direct federal funding for operations - the largest chunk of its money comes from program fees and station dues, as NPR's finances page lays out.

NPR does end up with some federal funding in an indirect sense, though it only makes up between one and three percent of the group's budget on a yearly basis, according to NPR CEO Vivian Schiller, who discussed the matter in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution today.

Here's how Schiller breaks it down: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which covers both radio and television, gets $90 million per year in federal funding that goes to member public radio stations, not NPR itself. (This would be your local NPR affiliate.) She said any money NPR gets from the CPB comes via grants it has to apply for, and those grants only make up a tiny percentage of the overall NPR budget, which Schiller puts at $160 million per year.

(Looking at CPB's financials - page 17 specifically -- it appears the group got a $422 million total allocation from the federal government in FY2010, of which roughly $93 million went to radio.)

'NPR gets no allocation from CPB,' Schiller said. 'Zero. We are a private 501(c)3. We've had journalists call up and ask what department of the government we report to. That's laughable.'"
posted by ericb at 7:31 AM on March 9, 2011


ericb, it's been pretty well established that you can lawfully fire an employee for expressing personal opinions on private time.

Personally, I think that's unethical as hell, but as I understand it that's the way things are.
posted by lodurr at 7:32 AM on March 9, 2011


lodurr -- but, does receiving government funding restrain someone from expressing their opinion? No. If they risk getting fired for it, that's their risk. FWIW -- Ron Schiller did not get fired. He had already announced he was leaving for the Aspen Institute.
posted by ericb at 7:36 AM on March 9, 2011


Roger Ailes doesn't receive government funding

Any broadcaster that uses public airwaves is publicly subsidized. So no, he does receive public money in the form of that public subsidy.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:46 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


ericb, no, you're right: if you're willing to lose your job, hardly anything can constrain you from expressing your opinion, as long as the 1st amendment still holds in this country.

as for precisely how ron schiller came to leave at the time he did, I read "accelerated the time frame of his departure" as a euphemism for being told he'd better get out before he actually was fired.
posted by lodurr at 8:09 AM on March 9, 2011


Diane Rehm (NPR) is spending her hour on this right now (EST).
posted by futz at 8:10 AM on March 9, 2011


Any broadcaster that uses public airwaves is publicly subsidized. So no, he does receive public money in the form of that public subsidy.

I'm pretty sure Fox News is on cable, though.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:13 AM on March 9, 2011


On cable and broadcast. Mostly on cable, though, yes, so strictly speaking, as director of the News division, Ailes is culpable for about 30-90 minutes per day on broadcast, depending on the broadcast market. Probably more in some.
posted by lodurr at 8:21 AM on March 9, 2011


So why should Fox be allowed to be so blatantly partisan when it makes use of public resources?

But really, can't we please quit pretending any of this shit has anything to do with ethical principles or ideology or really anything more than just naked power grabbing? I'm so sick of having to carry on this act that there's some good faith civic participation motivating all this stuff, when it's so obviously just about political power and control over information flow and public perception.

After Nixon, a core of Republican operatives (including Nixon's boy Ailes) decided that they needed to capture the media in order to have a stronger hold on political power, given Nixon's well-known personal conviction that his political downfall was due to a liberal media conspiracy; Fox News has from the start been an exercise in politicizing the media for political gain, and yet, not only is that incredible reality not serious news, Fox is still managing to make the number one media story how "liberal" the rest of the media is. Quatsch.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:45 AM on March 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Of course it'a about power. But we've got to have something else to talk about, or we go nuts.
posted by lodurr at 8:46 AM on March 9, 2011


Fair enough. Sob.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:58 AM on March 9, 2011


Congressional hearings on radical Islam stir a hornets' nest -- "House committee's inquiry looks like inquisition to many Muslims."
posted by ericb at 9:09 AM on March 9, 2011


Ron Schiller has apparently been "unhired" from the Aspen Institute. I don't understand how this slimy little douchebag, this know purveyor of lies, James O'Keefe has so much power over the country.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:20 AM on March 9, 2011


I don't understand how this slimy little douchebag, this know purveyor of lies, James O'Keefe has so much power over the country.

Because he's white and talks to white people about the plight of white people.

The greatest outrage in the beltway media is to accuse white people of being racist. And that's effectively what the NPR guy did. He stated quite clearly that the Tea Party, you know, the people CNN allowed to give an "official response" to the President of the United States, is a bunch of stupid, ignorant, right-wing racists. And that upsets far too many white people.

Likewise, the reason O'Keefe keeps doing this is because that same media lets him. He got away with getting ACORN defunded. No one cared that he was an inept liar because white people were not the prime victim. Clearly, and perfectly in tune with recent GOP wailing, he's now trying to get NPR defunded, and I assure you there will be a good week's news cycle of "conversation" about this before the GOP votes to strip it in a bill and Obama vetoes it because Jesus, you retards.

Here's the thing though, and I mean this with no sarcasm or snark whatsoever: it's not going to work because there's a huge difference between NPR and ACORN: NPR is popular with white people. In fact, I would imagine that the vast majority of NPR's audience is white. And, going right back around to the top of this comment, when white people are angry about something being taken away from them, the government actually listens.

NPR is not going to lose funding. And on a larger scale it's certainly not going to be de-funded out of existence. The only people who are going to suffer from this is the guy who lost, apparently, two jobs now for talking truthfully about white people.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:40 AM on March 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Why the fuck did Vivian Schiller step down over this? If she'd waited until the weekend, no one would care. Does she just not understand news cycle and waiting these assholes out?

Or is the board really that scared and stupid? What's the deal?
posted by klangklangston at 9:51 AM on March 9, 2011


XQUZYPHYR: Don't be so sure you can count on a veto to save NPR funding if it gets to that point. The funding cuts, as I understand it, wouldn't come in the form of a stand-alone bill, but would be part of the next budget that gets adopted after the next series of GOP threats of government shutdown (assuming a budget actually ever gets adopted).

The president does not have line item veto power--he's got to pass or fail the entire budget--and given a choice between either adopting a budget that defunds NPR but at least keeps social security checks going out to seniors, or letting Republicans make good on their shutdown threat and just letting those social security checks stop while 50 million elderly or disabled folks end up getting kicked out onto the streets... Well, what would you do? Insist we keep the funding for NPR alive even though as this story plainly puts it right in the forefront of the public imagination, "NPR doesn't even need Federal funding"? Or do we let grandma and grandpa get evicted and go hungry to save NPR if that's what it comes down to?

Or is the board really that scared and stupid? What's the deal?

Apparently, NPR is reporting she was forced out, so this last thing seems to sum it up.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:56 AM on March 9, 2011


I think the board really is that scared and stupid, or perhaps just that vindictive. She burned a lot of karma over that cock & bull cover story when they fired Juan Williams.
posted by lodurr at 9:56 AM on March 9, 2011


Even though, frankly, Juan Williams has shown himself to be a member of Douche Force Alpha since he was fired.

If he thought his firing for expressing personal opinions was wrong, then he should have defended Schiller.
posted by klangklangston at 10:00 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


don't mistake me, i think juan should have been fired. i just think Vivian S's public presentation around the affair was bullshit. She was responsible for losing not just a major PR skirmish, but one of NPR's most experienced editors in the bargain.
posted by lodurr at 10:35 AM on March 9, 2011


"...the majority of its funding does not come (even indirectly) from taxpayers." I think "laughable" was the other word they used. Right. 5.8 Federal, state, and local government funds. 10.1% Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) funds, that's about 99% taxpayer funded. University funds, if it's a public university it's composed of taxpayer dollars, maybe another 5-10%. So now we're in the 20-25% range. Donations are tax-deductible so those are subsidized by the govt. That adds another 10-15% Yes, they are laughing.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 10:40 AM on March 9, 2011


Is there a source for your numbers, wallstreet1929?
posted by garlic at 10:53 AM on March 9, 2011


not to mention that the 'tax deductable contributions are government funding' canard is really kind of ludicrous. (Really? Really? And I bet libraries are destroyers of value, too, right?)
posted by lodurr at 11:08 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


dirigible man: Ron Schiller has apparently been "unhired" from the Aspen Institute. I don't understand how this slimy little douchebag, this know purveyor of lies, James O'Keefe has so much power over the country.

Cuz liberals are chickenshits who are afraid of fighting back?
posted by symbioid at 11:18 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, they are laughing.

Hey, smart guy. Read the fucking label over the chart you're quoting. I'll duplicate it here so you don't have to trouble yourself to go back to the page and read it again.

"Member Station Finances"

You're quoting the numbers that represent what NPR member stations receive. In case you don't know this, member stations are not NPR. They are independent entities that purchase content from NPR. If you'd have scrolled down just a little bit more, you'd see the breakdown of NPR's finances, which are totally different. Do you see what the percentage of income that comes from CPB is? No? That's because it's 0%. Zero dollars. This is how CPB works. They give money to public radio and television stations. Not to NPR.

It's not that hard. Just read.
posted by god hates math at 12:11 PM on March 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


How is PRI related to NPR, btw?
posted by empath at 12:26 PM on March 9, 2011




How is PRI related to NPR, btw?

They are, in a sense, competitors. They both produce content that is purchased by your local public radio affilliate. American Public Media is another big one.

I get the sense that a lot of people do not understand the relationship between National Public Radio and their local NPR-affiliate station.
posted by muddgirl at 12:32 PM on March 9, 2011


How is PRI related to NPR, btw?

I don't think they're related at all, other than some NPR member stations perhaps also purchasing programming from PRI. Here is how they describe themselves, and here is what wikipedia has to say about them.

A quick look at the CPB website seems to suggest that PRI doesn't even have ongoing support from the CPB.
posted by hippybear at 12:33 PM on March 9, 2011


They're actually competitors.
Public Radio International (PRI) is a Minneapolis-based American public radio organization, with locations in Boston, New York, London and Beijing. PRI's tagline is 'Hear a different voice.' PRI is a major public media content creator and also distributes programs from many sources. In public radio, PRI competes with National Public Radio and American Public Media to provide programming to public radio stations.

... PRI was founded in 1983 as American Public Radio to provide diverse voices and an alternative to NPR for public radio program distribution. Four stations established American Public Radio: the Minnesota Public Radio network, WGBH in Boston, WNYC in New York City, and KUSC in Los Angeles. The corporation changed its name to Public Radio International in 1994 to reflect its growing interest and involvement in international audio publishing, as typified by its many collaborations with the BBC.

In the mid-1990s, PRI began to expand its purpose by producing programming in addition to distributing programming. This important evolution in the company began with PRI's The World, a co-production among PRI, the BBC World Service, and WGBH. This daily global news program was one of the first news-oriented co-productions of the BBC World Service anywhere. The launch of the weekend program, Studio 360, a co-production between PRI and WNYC (featuring Kurt Andersen), followed in early 2001. Studio 360 strives to "get inside the creative mind" each week as it surveys events in film, arts, design, entertainment, and culture.

... Public radio is a generic term for non-commercial radio stations or programming that are covered under the Public Broadcasting Act. Public radio organizations receive funding from corporate sponsors, public (e.g. Corporation for Public Broadcasting) and private foundation grants as well as donations and gifts from individuals. The mix of revenue differs by station, network and/or producer. PRI, NPR and American Public Media are the largest providers of public radio programming in the United States. They compete with each other for slots on public radio stations and the attention of listeners. Each has distinct missions and emphases in programming—PRI is focused on global journalism, providing diverse voices, and arts and cultural perspectives. Any given public radio station may be simultaneously both an NPR member and an affiliate of PRI and APM. PRI is a not-for-profit organization that has an independent governing board with an independent board of directors. NPR is a membership organization; its board is composed of public radio stations which run for seats on the board.
PRI is a younger organization than NPR, and focuses on pushing the sound of public radio forward through innovative programming strategies and leading media in its areas of focus—global news and cultural perspectives. (NPR was founded in 1970 and PRI in 1983.) Many PRI shows draw a younger overall audience than shows produced by NPR. PRI's stated purpose is to offer a wider range of voices than NPR programs.[20]
In recent years, there have been changes among distributors of numerous programs. Some programs that were formerly distributed by PRI, such as A Prairie Home Companion, Marketplace, and American Routes are now distributed by American Public Media.[21] APM was formed by Minnesota Public Radio to distribute programs it owned and produced, thereby moving distribution from PRI to APM.
In addition, PRI distributed World Cafe for many years, but in 2005, the show's distribution was switched to NPR. At the same time, PRI has also picked up the distribution of programs originally distributed by NPR, including Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?, and, in 2006, Living on Earth - public radio's leading news and information program focused on the environment. In September 2007, PRI became the national distributor of Selected Shorts which was previously distributed by NPR.
posted by ericb at 12:37 PM on March 9, 2011


Or, what muddgirl and hippybear said.
posted by ericb at 12:37 PM on March 9, 2011


> the 'tax deductable contributions are government funding' canard is really kind of ludicrous.

Next time the rant du jour is about how contributions to churches being tax-deductible constitutes government funding of religion and it's unconstitutional quack quack honk and I say voila, un canard, I hope some of y'all will be there to watch my back.
posted by jfuller at 12:37 PM on March 9, 2011


American Public Media is another big one.

That was PRI's old company name.
posted by ericb at 12:38 PM on March 9, 2011


No it wasn't. They were American Public Radio. American Public Media is a third company altogether.
posted by hippybear at 12:40 PM on March 9, 2011


Oops ... American Public Radio was their old name.

APM exists, as per above.
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on March 9, 2011


Jinx .... you owe me a Coke!
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on March 9, 2011


Jinx .... you owe me a Coke!
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on March 9, 2011


I guess that's two Cokes.
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


To hell with a Coke. I'd happily buy you a few pints of quality brew!
posted by hippybear at 12:41 PM on March 9, 2011


I'll take that!
posted by ericb at 12:43 PM on March 9, 2011


Is this the same Peter King who was a bagman for the IRA during their terrorist years?

Jon Stewart: ‘Wait Until Congressman Peter King Gets A Hold Of Terrorist Sympathizer Peter King!’
posted by ericb at 12:45 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


jfuller: Next time the rant du jour is about how contributions to churches being tax-deductible constitutes government funding of religion and it's unconstitutional quack quack honk and I say voila, un canard, I hope some of y'all will be there to watch my back.

[shrug /]

I think tax exemption for religion because they're religions is annoying, unfair, and dumb, and I'd like to see it stop, but I don't really have an opinion on its constitutionality. If someone wants to take the position that tax deductible charitable contributions are government subsidy of anything, then it seems logical to me to say that must also be true of religions.
posted by lodurr at 1:12 PM on March 9, 2011






My local station is WNPR, so it's not like they are trying to make this less confusing.
posted by smackfu at 9:56 PM on March 9, 2011




Big surprise, the raw video shows Douchebag O'Keefe heavily and misleadingly edited the videos to fabricate a case against Schiller. Once again, the "liberal" media enthusiastically falls for an O'Keefe/Breitbart video lie.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:26 AM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Big surprise, the raw video shows Douchebag O'Keefe heavily and misleadingly edited the videos to fabricate a case against Schiller. Once again, the "liberal" media enthusiastically falls for an O'Keefe/Breitbart video lie.

It kills me a little on the inside that Glenn Beck's website was the one to do the investigating on this.

The best part, by far, is the comments on that page. While there are a ton of very supportive quotes on that page, in the spirit on the editing job, I've cherry picked a few of my favorites.
  • "Well done for your intellectually honest work in doing this piece. Still cut funding for them of course."
  • "Who cares? Defund CPB and NPR"
  • "Do I condone deception? NO. Did the President get into the WH by representing himself and his plans for America correctly, HONESTLY??? Isn’t THAT of much greater importance? Every day we are assaulted by outright LIES from this REGIME and the MEDIA. Is it such a crime to use their own tactics on them?"
posted by SNWidget at 2:15 PM on March 11, 2011


From NPR this morning: Questions Raised About O'Keefe's Editing Of NPR Sting Video
posted by NoMich at 10:07 AM on March 13, 2011






From NPR this morning: Questions Raised About O'Keefe's Editing Of NPR Sting Video

If only they'd bothered to do this a freakin' week ago.
posted by Maaik at 5:03 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


So this kid releases video after video that is basically nothing but harmless quotes, taken out of context, and drummed up to be a fervor by a more-than-ready 24-hour news media.
In doing so, he has destroyed Acorn, ruined many careers of talented people, and now has given incendiary ammo towards the war on Planned Parenthood and NPR.

WTF, people?

Does no one care that they are doctored lies?
Does no one care that by lying, numerous lives have been destroyed and/or compromised?

Where are the lawsuists?
Where are the investigations in to the impacts of the lies?

Am I missing something?


Someone is getting away with murder right before an entire country's eyes, and half the country believes he's "proving what we already knew to be true", and the other half is sitting idly by and hoping he doesn't do anything else underhanded and nasty.
posted by Theta States at 2:14 PM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, Theta, I'm sure some cosmic justice will eventually enact itself, for if there is anything like Karma, than this weasel is going to get a 16 ton turd dropped on his head any day now...
posted by Skygazer at 9:21 PM on March 15, 2011


I've yet to see any decent evidence for the existence of Karma. All I see is people acting: to reinforce behavior, or discourage it. Different cultures bias in different ways, and even bias differently within a culture based on class, ideology, etc.

I have a feeling what happened at the Blaze was that a few idealistic souls couldn't stomach O'Keefe's bullshit anymore -- and, since the primary analyst seems to have been a woman, perhaps also inspired by O'Keefe's apparent battery of his "betrayer", Izzy Santa, in the Rape Boat affair (not to mention his insults to the craft of video editing, see below).

Note in the Blaze piece the careful balance between utterly damning evidence and qualification to pander to the audience. "While we applaud the results, we're shocked, shocked, to find that O'Keefe lied to get them."
posted by lodurr at 5:30 AM on March 16, 2011



And oh, hell, let's not forget the insult to intelligence that is that stuttering-repeating sequence. I mean, have you actually viewed/listened-to that? It's not a loop -- it's plainly a case of someone copying and pasting, repeatedly, over the audio track to cover up what's being said. Why do I say that? Because it's not the same chunk every time. You can plainly hear stuff in the background between places where they've pasted Betsy Liley's voice, and then there are the weird "static" bursts.

I think this section is actually a little "Fuck You" from James O'Keefe to the world: "Look at me, I can show you something that is such pure and obvious bullshit and even EXPERTS won't call me out on it!"

Sociopathic little prick.
posted by lodurr at 5:31 AM on March 16, 2011


Here's your karma: Breitbart works for Huffington Post, now.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:03 AM on March 16, 2011


When I was growing up, America was this grand place to the South where everyone did cocaine and would sue each other the slightest of insults, let alone doctored media attacks.

America, what happened?
posted by Theta States at 7:28 AM on March 16, 2011




"It cost us about $50,000 when all is said and done to produce the NPR video,"...

Let's see...

Surveillance equipment: $500 [1]
Time to edit: 20 hours [2]
Town car rental: $500 [3]
Website hosting for one year: $600 [4]
Funky clothes: $1000
Lunch: $500
Phone number in the DC area code, via a VOIP service: $600

So, with some very liberal back of the envelope estimating, I'm thinking the cash outlay on this looks to be in the neighborhood of $3000. If they paid a professional editor (ok, stop laughing and keep reading) at $150/hr, that about doubles it.

Which leaves $44,000 for hookers 'n' blow. Sounds about right.


--
[1]I'm being generous, here. It looks like they used a $150 Bell & Howell, but they could have used an actual digital video camera.
[2]Just a guess, but It'd take a hell of a lot of convincing to persuade me it was more.
[3]Assuming they didn't just borrow it from Jimmy's uncle Karl.
[4]Based on cost of a nice VPN at Hostgator.

posted by lodurr at 11:53 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Wingnut welfare" was a term I read to describe the O'keefe financial predicament.
posted by buzzman at 6:04 AM on March 24, 2011


Ye of little faith...
posted by Skygazer at 6:22 AM on March 24, 2011


/Karmic zing!
posted by Skygazer at 6:27 AM on March 24, 2011


/Psychic ZING!

Yes, yes...the world is unfolding in a shitstorm for the turdball known as James O'Keefe. My devious karmic spells are working. Go forth, oh great karmic spirits and drop the knowledge of category 5 hurricane of offal and waste residue upon his weasel head.

ON DASHER...ON BLIXEN...err...

(Ooops...forget that last part, oh great karmic spirits, got confused...)

posted by Skygazer at 6:34 AM on March 24, 2011


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