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Published On: Tue, Mar 8th, 2011

Ron Schiller, former NPR exec: Tea Party ‘xenophobic’ and ‘racist’

Former executive Ron Schiller blasted Republicans and the Tea Party in a meeting with two members of a fictitious Muslim group.

Schiller, then-president of the NPR Foundation and senior vice president for development, calls the Tea Party “xenophobic,” “seriously racist people,” who are “fanatically involved in people’s personal lives.”

He goes on to say that the Republican party has been hijacked by the Tea Party and laments the demise of intellectualism, particularly in the GOP.

Schiller was accompanied by Betsy Liley, NPR senior director of institutional giving, on the lunch with members of the “Muslim Education Action Center,” a fake group set up specifically to target NPR. The two members who met with Schiller and Liley established a purported connection with the Muslim Brotherhood early on in the lunch.

The setup was the brainchild of conservative James O’Keefe, who has become famous for his hidden-camera videos, most recently targeted at the Census bureau.

The video became public today but Schiller, who joined NPR in September 2009, had announced his intent to resign before the lunch meeting took place. NPR today denounced his comments and said Schiller, who was expected to leave the organization in May, had been placed on administrative leave.

“The comments contained in the video released today are contrary to everything we stand for, and we completely disavow the views expressed,” NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm said in a statement. “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.”

Schiller is not related to NPR president and chief executive Vivian Schiller.

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- Stories transferred over from The Desk of Brian where the original author was not determined and the content is still of interest of Dispatch readers.

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