NPR Puts Exec Ron Schiller on 'Administrative Leave' Following Comments About Tea Party

March 8th, 2011 6:17 PM

National Public Radio further distanced itself Tuesday afternoon from embattled outgoing executive Ron Schiller saying that he would be put on "administrative leave" following the release of a video in which he bashed Tea Party activists as "racist" and said that NPR would be "better off" without federal funding.

It was unclear from NPR's first statement, released early in the day, which of Schiller's many comments the radio network had disavowed. The second statement offered some clarification, specifically addressing the claims that the organization would fare better without federal dollars. But it did not highlight or specifically denounce any of Schiller's comments regarding the Tea Party movement, the Republican Party, or the American people generally - though it did broadly condemn his comments.

Schiller's impending departure for a post at the Aspen Institute makes the move to place him on "administrative leave" mostly symbolic.

Here is the statement in full:

The comments contained in the video released today are contrary to everything we stand for, and we completely disavow the views expressed. NPR is fair and open minded about the people we cover. Our reporting reflects those values every single day – in the civility of our programming, the range of opinions we reflect and the diversity of stories we tell.

The assertion that NPR and public radio stations would be better off without federal funding does not reflect reality. The elimination of federal funding would significantly damage public broadcasting as a whole.

Prior to the lunch meeting presented in the edited video, Ron Schiller had informed NPR that he was resigning from his position to take a new job. His resignation was announced publicly last week, and he was expected to depart in May. While we review this situation, he has been placed on administrative leave.

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