The Schiller syndrome

Vivian Schiller is the wretched NPR chief executive who trashed Juan Williams for statements she declared best relegated to his psychiatrist. I detected a whiff of the punitive psychiatry employed in the late Soviet Union in Schiller’s public comment on Williams. Soviet psychiatry’s favored diagnosis for those guilty of heterodox thoughts was sluggishly progressing schizophrenia. Is Williams a victim of this malady in Schiller’s view? She clearly thought he needed therapy to address his misguided thoughts.
At the American Spectator, Jeffrey Lord raised the question whether Schiller was in fact a fan of the Soviet Union. Lord recalled Schiller’s role in the production of Ted Turner’s glowing three-part, seven-hour Portrait of the Soviet Union CNN series in 1988. Lord quoted Schiller: “At the time, Ted Turner went through this period of deep fascination with the Soviet Union…and they hired me to be a translator/production assistant/’fixer’–which in production terms is somebody in a foreign country who ‘makes it happen.'” Now she “makes it happen” at NPR.
Today Schiller spoke at the National Press Club testifying to the greatness of NPR. Her remarks are available in their entirety via this C-SPAN video. Would you enjoy listening to the sound of fingernails being scratched across the blackboard for an hour? If so, you’ll love watching Schiller’s talk.
In her remarks, Schiller revealed that she’s fluent in Russian and used to lead tours of the Soviet empire during the Communist era. It was behind the Iron Curtain that Schiller admitted learning “everything” she knows about “management and leadership.” contacted Williams for his reaction. Williams commented: “I think she learned those lessons well…questioning my sanity … disparaging me in public … didn’t the Soviets send people to the gulag?”
Schiller addresses the Williams case in the video at around 26:30. According to her, it raised process issues that have been satisfactorily resolved. Everything is beautiful now at NPR. So why did NPR fire Williams? Was he fired because he uttered a politically incorrect statement on Fox News? The answer is obvious, and it belies the gist of Schiller’s remarks.
In her prepared remarks Schiller presented her case for continued public support for NPR. The House of Representatives recently voted to eliminate funding for public broadcasting in the 2011 budget and last week, Senators Jim Demint and Tom Coburn introduced legislation that would end federal funding for public radio and television stations.
Such action is long overdue. NPR can continue its relentless dissemination of the party line through the benefactions of its listeners and other supporters. It has no rightful claim to taxpayer support. (Schiller discusses NPR’s need for federal funding at around 45:00 and 49:00. Her comments are not remotely compelling.)
At around 33:00 of the video, the moderator of the event asks Schiller about the criticism that NPR is dominated by liberals in the newsroom. Schiller’s response to this question is familiar, evasive, and utterly disingenuous.
Via Hugh Hewitt (who commented sharply on Schiller’s remarks during the first half-hour of his show this afternoon).

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