James O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart have no credibility whatsoever, after their various misdeeds of the past few years. In case they’ve completely escaped you, these stunts include “fake pimp going to ACORN offices,” which revealed nothing untoward within the organization and were nearly completely fictionalized after editing; “Shirley Sherrod is a racist” video, which was so deceptively edited that it showed the exact opposite of reality; and of course, attempting to illegally bug a Senator’s office. By this time, if you see O’Keefe or Breitbart mentioned in any sort of journalistic story, you would be justified in assuming there is no truth to it at all.
With that being said, how in the hell could this be any worse for NPR? NPR marketing droid Ron Schiller tells fake Muslims that the GOP and Tea Party are racists and entirely owned by the evangelical movement, as well as saying that NPR would be better off without federal money. Obviously, I believe his opinions have some validity – the current GOP has been in thrall to the Religious Right for decades, some in the Tea Party have a significant xenophobic streak, and NPR’s begging means they end up beholden to whichever way the political winds blow. But, I can say those things in public or in private because I have no authority or power in any significant way. A senior NPR executive should just shut the fuck up when dealing with near-strangers. It doesn’t help Schiller’s appearance much that he left NPR last week for another job. That may be true, but it sure does look like he’s running away and giving NPR deniability.
I’m very curious how this will end up playing out. There seems to be more than enough stupid to go around on both sides.