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NPR CEO resignation: A look at lack of Journalistic Ethics Around the World


It is hard to believe that in the world of biased and partisan journalism, there is still some organizations left which take their independence very seriously.  In India, such a thing, where journalists are constantly using epithets and categorizations to disparage people and groups in the larger discussion, is unimaginable these days.  In fact, being biased in India is a basic right of journalistic ethos as it were.  It is no different from how it is done in US as well.  Fox and MSNBC are both rabidly partisan on their side of the spectrum.

Thankfully, I have found National Public Radio (NPR) to be very independent in the way it approached the issues and the analysis.  It even makes attempts to be phonetically correct with names – which others butcher all the time, specially when they are those of the foreigners.

The fund raising Chief for NPR, Ron Schiller, made some remarks that weren’t very congenial for the Tea Party movement – a rabid right wing movement of the Republican Party conservatives.  He was immediately canned.

In his statement Ron Schiller said:

“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 and also not reflective of my own beliefs. I offer my sincere apology to those I offended. I resigned from NPR, previously effective May 6th, to accept another job. In an effort to put this unfortunate matter behind us, NPR and I have agreed that my resignation is effective today.”

The video was done as an undercover act by by James O’Keefe, the conservative activist.  This guy Keefe it seems is always on the look out to ensnare people through good or bad means into slipping and doing something that can be used against them – and for the conservatives!  For example:

  • He taped ACORN employees supposedly advising conservative activists disguised as a pimp and prostitute on the best ways to launder their money (the video was heavily doctored and edited though)
  • He hatched a plot to ensnare a CNN reporter on a boat with sex toys last September, and,
  • In May of last year, he plead guilty to breaking into the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat

For a person who revels in using unscrupulous methods, it is indeed amazing that he attempts as using his victims’ good faith and principles of fairness to dump them.  What if the victims say – F.O. you bastard!?

In any case, now, not just the Fund raising guy Schiller but even the CEO of NPR – Vivian Schiller (no relation of Ron) has resigned as well.

In a world of rabidly partisan news reporting, here is an organization that is so worried about even the impression of it being similar that its CEO calls it quit!  That, to me is really remarkable.

During my youth, we all grew up admiring BBC for its content and journalistic brilliance.  But ever since I was introduced to NPR, I immediately realized that this news organization was probably the best in Journalism that there is in the world.  Nothing comes close.

Its level of programming and analysis – even choice of content and topics is very eclectic and well researched.  For me, its a pleasure to just listen to it.  How I wish we in India had some – just a handful maybe – who could learn at the feet of NPR.