Twenty-four members of National Public Radio’s editorial staff released an open letter Thursday night denouncing the behavior and remarks of the publicly-funded radio network’s senior executives.
In undercover video released earlier this week by conservative James O’Keefe, NPR’s nonprofit foundation President Ron Schiller was caught on video calling the Tea Party movement “racist, racist people,” suggesting Jews “obviously” control America’s newspapers and saying, contra the official company position, that NPR could survive and be “better off” in the long run without federal funding. Senior director of institutional giving Betsy Liley was also caught on tape helping a fake Muslim Brotherhood front group through the process of making a $5 million donation anonymously to NPR.
Ron Schiller and CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation) were ousted in response to the scandal, and Liley has been placed on “administrative leave.”
In the letter addressed to “listeners and supporters,” the editorial staffers wrote:
We, and our colleagues at NPR News, strive every day to bring you the highest quality news programs possible. So, like you, we were appalled by the offensive comments made recently by NPR’s now former Senior Vice President for Development. His words violated the basic principles by which we live and work: accuracy and open-mindedness, fairness and respect.
Those comments have done real damage to NPR. But we’re confident that the culture of professionalism we have built, and the journalistic values we have upheld for the past four decades, will prevail. We are determined to continue bringing you the daily journalism that you’ve come to expect and rely upon: fair, fact-based, in-depth reporting from at home and around the world.
With your support we have no doubt NPR will come out of this difficult period stronger than ever.
The staffers who signed onto the letter include Robert Siegel, Michele Norris, Melissa Block, Renee Montagne, Scott Simon, Liane Hansen, Guy Raz, Michel Martin, Neal Conan, Susan Stamberg, Nina Totenberg, Linda Wertheimer, Daniel Zwerdling, John Ydstie, Richard Harris, Tom Gjelten, Howard Berkes, Mike Shuster, Laura Sullivan, Lynn Neary, Jacki Lyden, Mara Liasson, Cokie Roberts and John Burnett.