In a “sting” video made earlier this year, NPR professionals are revealed expressing views they might otherwise have concealed.
Thinking they were dining with two representatives of a Muslim Brotherhood front group and potential big donors, Ronald Schiller, head of National Public Radio’s nonprofit foundation, and Betsy Liley, network director of institutional giving, did their best to be agreeable.
Told by imitation Islamist “Ibrahim Kasaam” (at about 7:45) that some of his friends refer to NPR as “National Palestinian Radio,” Schiller and Liley laugh. Liley adds, “Oh, is that right. That’s good. I like that.”
When “Kasaam” says to Schiller that “Jews do kind of control the media or, I mean, certainly the Zionists and the people who have the interests in swaying media coverage toward a favorable direction of Israel,” the NPR executive neither challenges nor refutes the insinuation, nor does he simply get up and leave. Instead, he continues eating and nods his head vaguely.
“Kassam” and partner “Amir Malik” lunched with Schiller and Liley at Café’ Milano in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood. The fake Islamists were actually associates of conservative film maker James O’Keefe. O’Keefe’s 2009 hidden-camera expose’ of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) led to the group’s loss of federal funding. It showed staffers in several ACORN offices advising women they believed to be prostitutes how to disguise their income to receive housing loans.
Here is the NPR-sting video:
“Kassam” tells the NPR duo that his organization, the “Muslim Education Action Center Trust” or MEAC, contributes to Muslim schools throughout the United States. He adds that “our organization was originally founded by a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood in America, actually.”
The Egyptian-based Brotherhood, of course, has been the mother ship of Sunni extremism since its founding in 1928. Its offshoots include the Palestinian terrorist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Salvation Front in Jordan and, in even more fundamentalist form, al Qaeda. A Brotherhood affiliate responsible for assassinating Syrian officials was devastated by the dictatorship of Hafez al-Assad in the early 1980s with an estimated 10,000 or more deaths. Schiller’s response?
“I think what we all believe is 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.”
The fake Islamists say they would not be “too upset about maybe a little bit less Jew influence of money into NPR.” Schiller makes what he apparently considers a defense of the network. He doesn’t find “Zionist or pro-Israel” ideas at NPR, “even among funders. I mean it’s there in those who own newspapers, obviously, but no one owns NPR.”
Liley discloses that one of the network’s biggest donors is the American Jewish World Service, a philanthropic relief agency. She says “they may not agree with what we put on the air but they find us important to them, and, sometimes it’s not that easy to hear what we say and what our reporters say, but they still think NPR is important to support.”
Schiller tells the “Islamists” that “they [American Jewish World Service] are really looking for a fair point of view and many Jewish organizations are not.”
CAMERA has documented a decades-long pattern of anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian bias in much of NPR’s Middle East reporting. The coverage violates the legal obligation of public broadcasters receiving federal funding to provide “strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature.”
After “Kasaam” and “Malik” press the subject, Schiller complains about American news media’s coverage of last month’s overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, including concern about the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in the new Egypt. Never mind that the Brotherhood’s “spiritual guide,” Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, returned from exile to address hundreds of thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, or that he has called for the conversion of Europe and North America to Islam and a second Holocaust of the Jews, this time not by Germans but Muslims.
Schiller says what most disappoints him about the United States “is that the educated, so-called elite in this country is too small a percentage of the population, so that you have this very large un-educated part of the population that carries these [anti-Brotherhood] ideas.”
Schiller also said he believed NPR could do without federal funding, though in the transition some public stations would not survive.
NPR Chief Executive Officer Vivian Schiller (no relation) said the network takes very seriously the prospect of congressional defunding. A measure to eliminate funding has passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives; passage by the Senate appears doubtful.
Dana Davis Rehm, NPR’s senior vice president of marketing, communications and external relations, said the organization is “appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for.”
Rep. Doug Lambron (R-Colo.), who introduced the House measures to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in general and NPR specifically, reportedly said the Schiller-Liley video demonstrated “condescension and arrogance.”