- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Are you a white, middle class, gun-owning, church-going conservative? Then NPR hates you. 

This stark but unsurprising revelation came in an undercover investigative video by conservative activist James O’Keefe targeting NPR senior executive Ron Schiller. Mr. Schiller thought he was chatting up Muslim activists promising a $5 million donation to the embattled publicly funded network, and he sought to appeal to them by disparaging people who disagree with his liberal worldview. 

“The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved with people’s personal lives,” he said. They are “very fundamentalist Christian – I wouldn’t even call it Christian, it’s this weird evangelical kind of move.” People on the right are “white, middle America, gun-toting,” not to mention “seriously racist people.” He also said that conservatives are “anti-intellectual,” in contrast to the “more educated, fair and balanced” liberals. 

When the tape was aired, Mr. Schiller issued a statement that his offensive language was “counter to NPR’s values” and, incredibly, “not reflective of [his] own beliefs.” NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller, who is an ideological sister but not a blood relative of Mr. Schiller, rushed out a statement saying his remarks were “contrary to what NPR stands for and are deeply distressing to reporters, editors and others who bring fairness, civility and respect for a wide variety of viewpoints to their work everyday.” Does any thoughtful person believe either of these announcements? It is extremely doubtful that anyone – including the flacks who wrote the statements, the lawyers who signed off on them and the people in whose name they were released – believes a word of them. Both Schillers are now out of a job and the public broadcasting damage-control effort is in overdrive. 

Mr. Schiller’s biased and snooty view of conservatives is the type of thing one would expect from a senior NPR executive. But he also said that he felt that the network “would be better off in the long run without federal funding.” This is undoubtedly true. Recent ads produced by PBS stations calling for viewers to contact legislators to demand continued funding may have violated federal law. At stake is a mere 2 percent of NPR’s budget, and perhaps 15 percent of the budgets of some of the smaller affiliates. This is a pittance in a time of economic troubles when many American homes have to face more serious cutbacks. Public broadcasting executives who cannot manage cuts this small have no business collecting their exorbitant compensation, ranging up to $1.2 million, according to information recently revealed by Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican. These wealthy individuals are clearly not part of the “middle America” Mr. Schiller so cavalierly denounced. 

In the end, however, Mr. Schiller was fired for speaking the truth. NPR should come out of the closet and stop insulting everyone’s intelligence by denying its left-wing identity. Like MSNBC, public broadcasters should simply embrace the fact that they represent the limousine-liberal stratum of American society and get on with life. These haters should do so without the benefit of tax dollars paid by the hard working, Bible reading, gun toting conservative Americans they so despise. 

President Obama has condescendingly referred to Americans who “cling to guns or religion.” It’s dangerous for him and NPR to so openly despise people who make up the majority in this country because this group will have the opportunity to fire Mr. Obama next year. In the mean time, Congress has the opportunity – and the responsibility – to defund his NPR propaganda arm.