Timing is everything, as the old idiom goes. Today's resignation by NPR CEO Vivian Schiller shows that James O'Keefe's masterful expose of NPR could not have come at a more politically effective time.
House Republicans had defunded NPR, and, with the battle raging in the Senate, Schiller had spoken at the National Press Club about the importance of federal funding, and the lack of bias at NPR. The next day, James O'Keefe released his video. Two men working with O'Keefe posed as "Ibrahim Kasaam" and "Amir Malik", members of a fictitious group called The Muslim Education and Action Center Trust whose stated goal was to "combat intolerance to spread acceptance of Sharia across the world". They met with NPR Foundation President Ron Schiller (no relation) and Betsy Liley, NPR's director of institutional giving.
Kasaam and Malik were offering a five million dollar donation to NPR. In the process of appealing to them, Ron Schiller said that NPR would be better off without federal funding, that "pro-Israel" forces own and control American newspapers. He also made many denigrating comments about conservatives.
Lilley, for her part, observed that NPR was "not covering the birthers" while acknowledging that a "stunning" study revealed that "51 percent of Americans now believe that Obama was not born in the United States". [Undercover sting catches NPR talking about Obama birth story, March 08, 2011]
The fallout was immediate. Vivian Schiller (no relation) resigned in order to try to deflect some of the backlash against NPR. Ron Schiller was supposed to leave NPR for to become director of the Harman-Eisner Artist-in-Residence Program at the Aspen Institute in May. He not only resigned from NPR, but also ceded his new job.
(Interestingly enough, the Harman in Harman-Eisner is Sidney Harman, the nonagenarian owner of Newsweek and husband of former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) who was caught on tape talking to Israeli agents offering to lean on the Justice Department to ease on their investigation of espionage by AIPAC. Perhaps Schiller's mention of Israeli influence came too close to home. But I digress.)
Regardless of whether NPR manages to secure federal funding for another year, we can thank James O'Keefe and especially Ron Schiller for providing a window into the mindset of an American liberal.
In his book Give War a Chance, the libertarian essayist PJ O'Rourke wrote, "The principle feature of American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things — war and hunger and date rape — liberals testify to their own terrific goodness. More important, they promote themselves to membership in a self-selecting elite of those who care deeply about such things. It's a kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don't have to be brave, smart, strong or even lucky to join it, you just have to be liberal."
This is an apt description, but it could be slightly expanded to note:
Being a liberal automatically makes one brave, smart, and strong.
If I were to create a caricature of liberal based on these views, it would end up looking like Ron Schiller.
A critical has been largely missed in the outrage: Schiller's distaste for conservatives is not driven by their policies, but by a sense of cultural superiority.
As Kevin DeaAnna of Youth for Western Civilization has noted, "The real point is not about federal funding, or sharia law, or the Tea Party movement. The point is the media hates us not because of anything we believe, but because of who we are. They are a hostile class that despises Middle America and wants to dismantle it." [What they really think about us, March 8, 2011]
Schiller asserted that the Tea Party is not "just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people."
His dislike of Middle America went beyond just the Tea Party—explained that he is, "most disappointed by in this country, which is that the educated, so-called elite in this country is too small a percentage of the population, so that you have this very large un-educated part of the population that carries these ideas."
This educated elite is, presumably, all liberal—because "In my personal opinion, liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives."
This elitism can be seen in other liberals like Paul Krugman, who recently wrote that teacher unions in progressive (and 85% white) Wisconsin must be the reason the state has higher test scores than conservative (and majority-minority)Texas.
Elitism can also be seen in the widespread acceptance by liberals of the Presidential IQ and Red State/Blue State IQ Hoaxes, the latter debunked by VDARE.com's Steve Sailer, both purporting to show that Democrats are much more intelligent than Republicans.
Slate's Dave Weigel semi-defended Schiller by arguing that "Schiller is a professional fundraiser, not a journalist. His pandering to the group is actually sort of masterful." [James O'Keefe vs. NPR, Slate, March 8, 2011]
But regardless of whether you believe this excuse, it is revealing how Schiller thought he could appeal to fundamentalist Muslims. Before calling the Tea Partiers racist and xenophobic, he accused them as being evangelical Christians who want to be "fanatically involved in people's personal lives." He compared the lack of "Muslim voices in our schools, on the air" to "the same thing we faced as a nation when we didn't have female voices."
Where do educated elitists like Schiller get the idea that Muslims who support Shariah Law would be wooed by his appeals to sexual freedom and woman's equality? [NPR executives caught on tape bashing conservatives and Tea Party, touting liberals, Matthew Boyle, Daily Caller, March 8, 2011]
If liberals are not willing to understand that Muslims are as intolerant as those evil tea-partiers, then it is not surprising that they won't acknowledge that they are a greater security threat than the Tea Parties.
Thus, our friend Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center ($PLC to VDARE.com) recently appeared on CNN to denounce House Homeland Security Committee Chair Peter King's (R-NY) hearings on Radical Islam.
After hostess Suzanne Malveaux described Potok as an, "expert on extremism" from "one of the most highly regarded non-governmental operations that are monitoring hate groups", she asked him: "From your study of tracking radical groups, potentially hate groups, what do you think of this hearing? Is al Qaeda radicalizing Muslims? Is that our biggest homegrown terrorism threat right now?"
Of course not, Potok responded: "I think it's not our biggest domestic terror threat. I think that pretty clearly comes from the radical right in this country."
"I don't mean to minimize [Jihadists], but there are even larger threats out there. An example, to respond to your question, is within the so-called anti-government patriot movement, what we used to think of as the militia movement back in the 1990s. There is a whole and rapidly-growing kind of sub movement called the 'sovereign citizens' movement.' These are people who believe the government has no right to control them in any way, to pass laws that affect them, to require them to pay taxes, even to require things like driver's licenses and auto registrations. Well, you know, on May 20 of last year, a father and son team of these 'sovereign citizens,' in fact, murdered two officers, police officers, in West Memphis, Arkansas, and badly wounded two others before being killed themselves." [CNN's 'Highly Regarded Expert on Extremism': Radical Right a Bigger Terror Threat Than Jihadis, by Matthew Balan, NewsBusters, March 7, 2011]
There we have it! Two police officers were killed by lone libertarian nuts. Right wingers are now the greatest threat to America. [VDARE.com note: This case is obscure enough that we'd never heard of it, but see Deadly Arkansas Shooting By Sovereign Citizens Jerry Kane and Joseph Kane, By Dan Harris, July 1, 2010]
Certainly two people killed by whites is more significant than over three thousand Americans killed on September 11 by Muslims.
I suppose Potok could object that these actions were committed by illegal aliens and legal visa holders. But this would be a first, because the SPLC supports policies that allow these foreign born terrorists to come into the country and demonizes those who want to stop them.
Nonetheless, by any measure the number of "home grown" Islamic terrorists is much more significant than any threat from the "radical right".
There are many more. But it is clear that people like Potok and Schiller simply cannot bring themselves to admit that there are people other than White Christians who are not peace-loving liberals.
British Prime Minister William Gladstone said: "Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear."
Whether this was true in 19th Century Britain is up to debate. But in 21st century America, there can be no doubt that liberals have contempt, distrust, and fear of the American people.
Alexander Hart (email him) is a conservative journalist.