Republican and Democratic lawmakers have tussled over a GOP-backed spending bill that, if approved, would cut Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). However, in a new video, a former executive of National Public Radio (NPR) claims that the media outlet would be better off without government support.
An undercover video of Ron Schiller, the former president of the NPR Foundation and senior VP for Development, was released by conservative activist James O'Keefe on March 8. The footage shows Schiller calling the Tea Party a "xenophobic" group that consists of "seriously racist people." He added that NPR would gain more independence if Federal aid was slashed.
According to media reports, Schiller had already announced his intention to resign before his comments and was expected to leave the organization in May. Shortly after the video went public, NPR denounced Schiller's statements and placed him on administrative leave. On March 9, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller — who is not related to Ron — formally resigned from her post amidst the scandal.
Still reeling from the controversy surrounding the termination of former commentator Juan Williams, NPR is facing the ire of Congressional Republicans. The video of Schiller has fueled arguments that funding should be pulled for CPB, which provides support for NPR and PBS.
"Not only have top public broadcasting executives finally admitted that they do not need taxpayer dollars to survive, it is also clear that without Federal funds, public broadcasting stations self-admittedly would become eligible for more private dollars on top of the multi-million dollar donations these organizations already receive," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in a statement.