CBS Ignores, NBC Downplays Sting Tape of NPR Exec Slamming 'Racist' Tea Party

Only ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday highlighted claims by a NPR executive, caught in an undercover sting operation, that Tea Party members are "seriously racist" people. CBS's Early Show completely skipped the subject. NBC's Today allowed a brief mention during a news read.

GMA's Jake Tapper extensively highlighted quotes by the outgoing Ron Schiller: "The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian." In the tapes he can be seen adding, "They believe the term, white, middle-America, gun-toting – I mean, it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people."

Tapper noted that shows such as Sesame Street and Frontline are award-winning. He explained, "Republicans say, then, fine. They should be just well and good without federal funding."

However, Tapper did force this commentary into his report: " Well, NPR was already caught up in the partisan tug-of-war over budget cuts with Republicans calling its programming liberal and biased. Now, that's a caricature. But this NPR executive just handed NPR's opponents some more magic markers."

Over on Today, Ann Curry offered only a brief summery of the developments: "A hidden camera has revealed a National Public Radio fund-raising executive calling the GOP and the Tea Party  racist and saying that the radio network would be, quote, "better off" without its federal funding."

In the wake of the sting, NPR's CEO and president, Vivian Schiller (no relation to Ron Schiller), has been fired.

A transcript of the Tapper, segment, which aired at 7:05am EST on March 9, and the Today brief follow:


ROBIN ROBERTS: Back here at home, though, changing gears to a big embarrassment for National Public Radio. A top executive there caught on tape in a hidden camera sting operation, slamming the Tea Party, saying the network would be better off without federal money. Jake Tapper is in Washington and joins us with the details right now. Good morning, Jake.

ABC GRAPHIC: NPR Execs Bad-Mouth Conservatives: "Tea Party Is Racist"

JAKE TAPPER: Good morning, Robin. That's right. Well, NPR was already caught up in the partisan tug-of-war over budget cuts with Republicans calling its programming liberal and biased. Now, that's a caricature. But this NPR executive just handed NPR's opponents some more magic markers. National Public Radio's then-senior vice president for fund-raising Ron Schiller may love the NPR show All Things Considered, but, clearly, there are some things he did not consider.

RON SCHILLER: In my personal opinion, liberals, today, might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives.

TAPPER: New tapes reveal Schiller was duped by conservative activists, posing as potential donors to NPR, affiliated with the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood. Schiller got chatty.

SCHILLER: The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian. And I wouldn't even call it Christian. It's this weird, evangelical, kind of move. They believe the term, white, middle-America, gun-toting – I mean, it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people.

TAPPER: Perhaps most damaging, Schiller said losing federal funding would mean some local NPR stations would go dark, but-

SCHILLER: Well, frankly, it's very clear that we would be better off in the long-run without federal funding.

TAPPER: Schiller was already set to leave NPR, but last night, he resigned. NPR said it was appalled by his comments, which they say "undermine how fair and open-minded NPR is." But the debate about the more than $400 million in federal funds that go to public broadcasting is in a fever pitch.

REP NITA LOWEY (D-NY): The public wants Congress to focus on creating jobs. Not laying off Bert and Ernie.

TAPPER: And opponents of that funding, smell blood.

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R-SC): The fact is, they don't need it. And we don't have the money to do it.

TAPPER: Last night on Fox News Channel, Juan Williams, whom NPR fired for controversial comments about how he gets nervous while flying with some Muslims, weighed in.

JUAN WILLIAMS: This, to me, is finally a window into how they really think. It's like you were tuning your radio and just by accident, you got the right wavelength. And now, you're hearing the truth.

TAPPER: Whether Sesame Street and Frontline on PBS or any of the NPR programming,  public broadcasting programs are critically acclaimed, award-winning and enjoyed by millions of Americans. Republicans say, then, fine. They should be just well and good without federal funding. George?

Today
03/09/11
7:10

ANN CURRY: A hidden camera has revealed a National Public Radio fund-raising executive calling the GOP and the Tea Party  racist and saying that the radio network would be, quote, "better off" without its federal funding. The sting was orchestrated by a Republican filmmaker who had previously targeted the liberal organization called ACORN. Republicans in Congress are renewing their efforts to cut funding for public broadcasting in light of this NPR incident.

— Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org