Jenny EriksonA few months ago, conservatives were outraged at the firing of liberal Juan Williams by National Public Radio for saying that flying with Islamic-looking males made him nervous on Fox News’ The O’Reily Factor. According to NPR’s head honcho Vivian Schiller, Mr. Williams had “several times in the past violated [their] news code of ethics with things that he had said on other people’s air.”
Apparently expressing an opinion based on the fact that virtually every airplane-hijacking terrorist in the United States over the past few decades has been a Jihadist is punishable by unemployment from NPR. Juan Williams did not state that he thought all Muslims were terrorists, or even that he refused to fly with them. He simply stated that it made him nervous.
Shortly thereafter, many prominent conservative pundits called for NPR to be defunded of the federal money that it receives. Private businesses can run things how they see fit, but organizations receiving taxpayer money should not be able to terminate someone’s employment for expressing a valid opinion, especially when it wasn’t even done on NPR’s airwaves.
In November, the then-Democratic House of Representatives defeated a bill to cut the federal funding of NPR. The supposedly unbiased organization released this statement after the vote:
In an increasingly fractious media environment, public radio’s value in fostering an informed society has never been more critical. Our growing audience shows that we are meeting that need. It is imperative for federal funding to continue to ensure that this essential tool of democracy remains available to all Americans and thrives well into the future.
Fast forward to March 2011. Ron Schiller, a senior executive at NPR, was caught on tape in a sting operation criticizing the Republican party, and Tea Party Republicans in particular, as being racist, fundamentalist Christian, and fanatically involved in people’s personal lives.
**Side note: Democrats want to control our health care, our education, and what we can feed our kids, but Republicans are "fanatically involved in people’s personal lives"? Um, ok ...
Conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe caught Mr. Schiller, along with NPR’s director of institutional giving Betsy Liley, meeting with two members of a Muslim Brotherhood front group. The NPR executives didn’t know it, but the men were actors representing the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC). They claimed that they would like to donate $5 million to NPR.
On a website set up to lend credibility to the MEAC, it explicitly states that its goal in existing is to combat “intolerance to spread acceptance of Sharia across the world.” Sharia law, where the death penalty is enforced for apostasy (leaving the faith), a man may punish his wife by beating her, and there is no separation between church and state.
After the undercover tape was released, Schiller was fired, not for being an anti-Republican bigot, but for unprofessional conduct. NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation) also parted ways with the company. NPR issued a statement making it clear that they never had any intention of accepting the $5 million donation offered, and in fact repeatedly refused to accept the donation from the MEAC.
That’s when O’Keefe released part two of his NPR sting operation, in which Betsy Liley (from the original video) explains exactly how the Muslim Brotherhood front group committed to spreading acceptance of Sharia law could donate anonymously to avoid any federal investigations.
The second video shows that NPR was not only willing to take the money, but also to be sneaky about it, and then to lie about it when caught red-handed.
National Public Radio can run its business any way it wants to. America is a free country, after all. But it needs to stop doing it on the taxpayer’s dime.