After Vivian Schiller Walks the Plank, Now What?
NPR Prexy Vivian Schiller barely survived Juan Williams.
But Ron Schiller (no relation)? Nah.
After it was revealed yesterday that outgoing NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller was O'Keefed (as in conservative stingmeister James O'Keefe) and taped saying the Tea Party was racist and that NPR should cut the umbliical cord of federal funding (a humongous no-no), Vivian Schiller was ousted from her job, according to NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik. The official word is she "resigned" and that the board accepted that decision with "deep regret." Yada, yada, yada.
Even if Vivian had nothing to do with Ron except a common last name, enough was most decidedly enough. The buck had to stop here, a view that Schiller concurred with in a New York Times interview, especially when the federal bucks are in danger of stopping as well.
NPR needed someone to clean up this mess pronto, and the board rightly decided that Vivian Schiller was lacking in the janitorial sciences. Now there's a big hole to fill at a watershed moment for NPR (the network, not the news operation, which still does top-flight work).
Finding a suitable candidate won't be the hard part. The hard part is identifying a suitable candidate who will want to take on what will be in the short- and mid-term a thankless job.