Just yesterday NPR’s president and CEO stood before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and declared that the taxpayer-funded news organization exhibited no bias against conservatives. Vivian Schiller even dared conservatives to show her the proof.
Less than 24 hours later, filmmaker James O’Keefe delivered the goods. Caught on camera was an NPR senior vice president calling “Tea Party people” a variety of derogatory names: “Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”
The timing was fortuitous — and it exposed Schiller as an apologist for the liberal mainstream media, of which NPR is a key player. If this is the type of talk Schiller permitted at the highest levels of NPR, is there really any question about the organization’s hostility to conservatives?
Schiller’s plea yesterday for specific examples of bias was itself laughable. The Media Research Center has a treasure trove of incidents dating back years.
“There’s no question it is a perception issue,” Schiller insisted when asked about bias in the newsroom. “It is absolutely a perception issue.”
But while she was willing to chalk up NPR’s liberal bias as merely a “perception” problem, she made sure another form of diversity was being addressed in more substantive manner.
When asked about the firing of Juan Williams last October — his departure left NPR without a black male reporter on the air — Schiller went overboard to assure NPR’s critics that it took this type of diversity seriously. The National Association of Black Journalists, in particular, has chided NPR for having too few black reporters on the air and in leadership positions.
“This is a very, very big priority for us,” Schiller said yesterday. “We have a number of different initiatives under way to diversify — further diversify — our staff, our reporters, the people we interview on the air, and, of course, our audience. We think we’ve made some progress, but it’s not nearly enough.”
It’s too bad Schiller doesn’t have the same commitment to ideological diversity. Rather than denying NPR’s obvious liberal bias, she should’ve promised the same robust initiative to address NPR’s other diversity problem.