Barely two years after she arrived, Vivian Schiller has resigned from her post as CEO of NPR. David Folkenflik, NPR's own media reporter, has gone on record as saying she was "forced out" due to a series of political dustups: first the firing of conservative commentator Juan Williams, and most recently some anti-Tea Party (and funding) comments by Ron Schiller (no relation), then a fundraiser for NPR, caught on tape.
What we're looking at, at least in the latter case, is a new kind of political dirty trick: the ACORN-ing or Planned Parenthood-ing, this time of a major news organization. In all three cases, conservative activists concocted video stings featuring outlandish characters—pimps, in the case of Planned Parenthood and ACORN, and in the case of NPR, members of the Muslim Brotherhood—to manufacture scandals out of thin air. Anyone who's watched Borat knows that people sometimes have regrettable reactions when presented in social situations with utterly bizarre, off-the-wall behavior, but the man responsible has already stepped down. Are these gotcha comedy techniques really grounds to get rid of a media CEO with a keen eye for the future of digital media and a formula for reporting the news that actually seems to be financially successful?
[Image: Julian Dufort]