Politics

Tea Party groups respond to NPR’s Ron Schiller’s disparaging remarks

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter

Several Tea Party movement figures have now responded to the distasteful remarks National Public Radio (NPR) Foundation’s nonprofit President Ron Schiller made about the conservatives, and them in particular.

FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe told The Daily Caller he thinks “the video clearly demonstrates what a majority of Americans already knew,” and that “it is no secret that NPR has a bias in favor of the Left, but the real takeaway here is that no radio station should be subsidized by taxpayer dollars.”

Kibbe’s organization has also created a “Call to Action” page on its website to make it easy for people to send letters of support for legislation Sens. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, and Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, are sponsoring to defund NPR, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Currently, about 300 people have signed onto it.

“America currently has a $1.6 trillion budget deficit and a national debt of $14 trillion,” Kibbe said in an e-mail to TheDC. “Taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize an organization like NPR that should survive on its own private fundraising like any other radio station. Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn have drafted legislation (S.492) that would end taxpayer funding of NPR, and FreedomWorks will be supporting their efforts one hundred percent.”

Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer said, “we were extremely disturbed to hear Ron Schiller, the Senior Vice President for Development of National Public Radio, spew baseless, hateful fiction about the tea party movement today, calling us weird, Evangelical, Islamaphobic, and gun-toting racists.”

“The tea party is composed of hardworking American citizens of every race, creed, and religion, whose taxes help fund NPR and pay Schiller’s salary,” Kremer said in a statement. “I can’t think of a time in recent history when a group of Americans have been so vilified and denigrated by a person who is supposedly serving the public’s interest. Schiller’s ignorant comments lend overwhelming evidence for the need to stop all federal funding of NPR. Even more outrageous was Mr. Schiller’s fact-challenged claim regarding the education and intelligence of tea partiers: ‘In my personal opinion, liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives.’”

Kremer references a poll from The New York Times that shows Tea Partiers are better educated than the general public as well.

Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler told TheDC that there’s “no surprise here,” referencing Schiller’s remarks about grassroots conservatives but that it is “somewhat revolting to see it out in public.”

“It’s another example of the ‘ruling elite’ disease that affects so many inside the beltway and inside state capitols around the country,” Meckler said in an e-mail. “The organization doesn’t need public funding, and is clearly biased against most Americans and so it shouldn’t be funded.”

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips told TheDC that “this is just more proof that we need to get rid of government funding, in any way, shape, form or fashion, for National Public Radio and Public TV.”

Phillips said public broadcasting outlets did serve a purpose back when there only a few television and radio channels. But, with cable television, satellite radio, the internet and a whole host of new media, Phillips said public broadcasting is no longer necessary.