Ho ho ho, NPR got got, you guys. How humiliating!
You see, a right-wing guerilla group called Project Veritas (gross; they sound like they belong in The DaVinci Code) pulled a major sting operation on former NPR executive Ron Schiller. He got burnt! Punk’d, even!
Project Veritas — the same bastions of integrity who brought you the sham ACORN undercover videos — posed as a Muslim organization interested in donating $5 million to NPR, and secretly filmed the lunch meeting between their “agents,” Schiller and an associate.
Now, conservatives are crowing about the supposedly embarrassing and incendiary statements Schiller made to the two actors. But should NPR really be as ashamed as they are? (And they clearly are going into full damage-control mode.)
Let’s look at the controversial things Schiller says on video:
“I think what we all believe is that if we don’t have Muslim voices, in our schools, on the air…It’s the same thing we faced as a nation when we didn’t have female voices.”
OK. Admirable. We all like diversity, right? We’re all willing to take a stand against bigotry, racism, and sexism, yes?
“The current Republican party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives, and very fundamental Christian — I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird Evangelical kind of move.”
True. There are unequivocally strong ties between the Tea Party, the extreme right, and fundamental Christianity. Does anyone deny this? And yes, from a sociopolitical perspective, the Republicans want to control our personal lives. They want to control what goes into our vaginas and our assholes. That’s pretty personal.
“The current Republican Party is not really the Republican Party. It’s been hijacked by this group — that is…not just Islamophobic, but xenophobic. Basically, they are, they believe in sort of white, middle America, gun-toting…I mean, it’s scary.”
Again, true. The party of Newt Gingrich is not the party of Abraham Lincoln — or, frighteningly enough, even the party of Ronald Reagan. And I fully anticipate “White. Middle America. Gun-toting.” to be Sarah Palin’s 2016 campaign slogan.
“They’re seriously racist, racist people.”
“Now I’ll talk personally, as opposed to wearing my NPR hat. It feels to me as though there is a real anti-intellectual move on the part of a significant part of the Republican party.”
Wow, how controversial. Republicans are anti-intellectual? Crazy.
“In my personal opinion, liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives.”
Again, yep. So far, so good,
“The educated, so-called elite in this country is too small a percentage of the population, so that you have this very large, uneducated part of the population that carries these ideas. It’s much more about anti-intellectualism than it is about a political…A university also by definition is considered in this country to be liberal even though it’s not at all liberal; it’s liberal because it’s intellectual, pursuit of knowledge and that is traditionally something that Democrats have funded.”
Right on, man. Education is being demonized in people’s minds right now, thanks to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest. Education is equated with elitism, with snobbery, with being “out of touch.” That’s why we live in a society wherein people vote for which presidential candidate they’d rather grab a beer with, as opposed to which one is actually, you know, qualified. Also, as if to prove my point, the producers of this despicable video use the word “are” when they mean “our” when transcribing the quotes in the clip.
“Frankly, it is very clear that we would be better off in the long run without federal funding. The challenge right now is that if we lost it altogether, we would have a lot of stations go dark.”
I disagree with Schiller here, but I’m sure he has his reasons for thinking NPR doesn’t need federal funding. He doesn’t really go into details during the “meeting,” and there’s certainly nothing too shocking or outrageous about his statement.
“[Zionist and Jewish funding] is there among the newspapers obviously, but no one owns NPR.”
Oof. After about four solid minutes of anti-Semitic jibber-jabber from the fake Muslims, Schiller finally takes the bait. Can’t defend this one.
“In all of the uproar around Juan Williams, what NPR did I’m very proud of. And what NPR stood for is non-racist, non-bigoted, straightforward telling of the news.”
OK, we’re all reasonable people here, and we can disagree about whether or not the firing of Juan Williams was justified. But I think we can all agree that the principle behind it — or at least how Schiller interprets that principle here — is just.
And…that’s it? That’s the extent of this kerfuffle? There’s no story here, folks. Some crazy right-wingers tried tricking an NPR bigwig into saying embarrassing things, and he mostly didn’t comply. GOTCHA!