USA: Radio executive is caught in video 'sting'

By Yoav Sivan, March 17, 2011
Schiller: apologised for inappropriate comments

Schiller: apologised for inappropriate comments

As the United States debated federal funding for public broadcasting after the release of a sting video of a National Public Radio executive attacking the Tea Party movement, Jewish organisations focused on certain comments pertaining to control of the media.

Ronald Schiller, head of fundraising for NPR, attended a lunch with two men posing as wealthy donors on behalf of the fictional Muslim Education Action CentreTrust. The sting was organised by James O'Keefe, a conservative provocateur.

Mr Schiller was filmed giving his opinion on a number of controversial issues, and suggesting that Tea Party supporters were "seriously racist, racist people." He also spoke against federal funding for NPR.

Jewish organisations targeted a brief exchange in which the two supposed donors alleged that Jewish funding of the media was a vehicle for pro-Israeli coverage, as Mr Schiller listened and ate his lunch. Then he replied: "I do not actually find the Zionist or the pro-Israeli influence at all at NPR, even among funders." He added: "I mean it is there in those who own newspapers, but no one owns NPR."

The Zionist Organisation of America called for Mr Schiller's resignation since "the video evidence demonstrates conclusively that he did not challenge, crudely antisemitic observations put to him about Jewish control of the media."

Mr Schiller issued an apology: "While the meeting I participated in turned out to be a ruse, I made statements during the course of the meeting that are counter to NPR's values."

Last updated: 12:32pm, March 17 2011