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Media Control Remark Prompts NPR Fallout

A tale of two (unrelated) Schillers

Marc Tracy
March 09, 2011
Vivian Schiller.(Mediabistro)
Vivian Schiller.(Mediabistro)

A right-wing activist taped a top National Public Radio fundraiser telling two potential Muslim donors (who in reality were actors participating in the activist’s sting operation) that “Zionist influence” exists “there in those who own newspapers obviously” and laughing at their joke that NPR stands for “National Palestinian Radio.” (The fundraiser also made negative comments about Republicans and the Tea Party.) In response, the fundraiser resigned. Even more dramatically, so did the longtime CEO of the federally funded network.

I haven’t mentioned these people’s names yet, because that would only confuse you. The fundraiser is named Ron Schiller, and the CEO is named Vivian Schiller. They are apparently not related, although, according to Wikipedia, Vivian Schiller’s father was named, yes, Ronald. Also according to Wikipedia, Vivian Schiller is Jewish; no word on Ron.

It is also not known at this time whether either Schiller is related to German Romantic poet Friedrich Schiller; French journalist Armand Schiller; German-English philosopher Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller; German astronomer Julius Schiller; the Lower East Side’s Schiller’s Liquor Bar; Monsey, New York, Hasdic rabbi Mayer Schiller; Emmy Award-winning director Lawrence Schiller; or indeed any other Schiller.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.