Bob Collins at Minnesota Public Radio has been following the developments on NPR very closely, and thanks to his Twitter habit, found this soon to be overlooked fact:
4:10 p.m. – Alicia Shepard just tweeted:
“Ron Schiller said in the full two hour Okeefe video he is a Republican, and was raised as a Republican. that didn’t make it in video.”
Alicia Shepard is the Ombudsman at NPR, and today she took a critical look at NPR management:
One has to wonder why NPR’s head of development and another senior staffer would meet with a prospective donor who had no history of philanthropy and nothing more than a phony web site as credentials. Don’t they research potential donors?
People at NPR yesterday were angry and dazed by this episode, which is just the latest in a series of events that put the company in the worst possible light. Doesn’t anyone in NPR’s top management think of the consequences before they act?
All very good questions, in my opinion. But the reason why precedes this:
“What I meant by ‘uneducated’, for example, were people who viciously attack federal funding and NPR without facts, and people who attack Muslim people because of lack of education about Muslims,” said Schiller in an email to me. “That, of course, hardly comes through at all.” Even so, Schiller admits he said some stupid things.
He’s right. Schiller comes across as an effete, well-educated, liberal intellectual – just exactly the stereotype that critics long have used against NPR and other bastions of the news media. It’s also a stereotype that NPR journalists try hard to combat every day in their newsgathering.
Contrary to popular belief, this is true, as MPR’s Bob Collins and Chris Worthington discuss in this hour long town hall styled meeting: Policy and a Pint – The Line Between News and Opinion. Between listening to and reading Bob Collins’ work and this forum discussion (not to mention The Current) I became a member of MPR. I have personally contacted their journalists about their coverage, and have always received replies as well as their consideration. Contrary to the stereotypes, they have been quite open to engaging this conservative, but then – I have engaged them civilly. They are also quite open in discussing the news industry, which is far more than we can say about Fox, CNN and MSNBC. And especially CBS.
Will it be noticed that a republican brought down NPR from the inside? That a news source free of profit motive and open to all citizens was damaged by a right-winger criticizing his own party? I have my doubts, but this video will not personally cause me to stop supporting Minnesota Public Radio and their fair and accessible journalists.
Update: You can see the entire video here.
(Hat Tip: Bob Collins)
Update 2: An example of the sorts of journalists MPR employs, Bob Collins in his own words:
// the other side of the political social spectrum to see it.
What I find interesting there is that it buttresses my assertion that dialogue in this country has created the illusion that there are only two “sides.” That everyone is all on one…. or all on the other.
That’s not true as evidenced by your use of the word “spectrum.”
Spectrum implies a range. Now, it’s true that on the color spectrum, blue is pretty close to being on the other side of red. But, in fact, there is also yellow, orange, green, aqua etc.
It has been to the benefit of the extreme left and the extreme right to create this illusion. It has helped them monopolize the conversation for their own purposes.
To an extent, political reporters in particular — who seem to dominate newsrooms — are guilty of this too.
But what it doesn’t do is provide any sort of real value to the oranges, aquas, purples, and yellows because it’s based on a lie — that there aren’t any oranges, aquas, purples, or yellows… that there really isn’t a spectrum.
The truth? There really is.
This is the sort of fair minded journalist that many refuse to believe work for public radio.