NPR President Vivian Schiller has resigned effective immediately.
"The Board accepted Vivian's resignation with understanding, genuine regret and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years," said Board Chairman Dave Edwards in a statement.
Joyce Slocum, general counsel and SVP of legal affairs, will be interim CEO until a successor has been picked by a transition committee.
Schiller has been under fire since the firing of Juan Williams, which an internal investigation concluded had been mishandled.
The resignation came only hours after the exit of Ron Schiller (no relation), the NPR fund-raising executive who came under withering criticism, including from Vivan Schiller, after he was videotaped saying that NPR could live without federal funding and branding Republicans as having been hijacked by "seriously racist" Tea Party followers.
Ron Schiller apologized and NPR pointed out he was already planning to leave in May. Ron Schiller announced late Tuesday night he was moving up his departure date to "immediately."
Ron Schiller essentially disavowed his comments, which were secretly taped in a sting operation meant to elicit comments about conservatives, Muslims and Jews, but the damage had already been done.
NPR fired senior news analyst Juan Williams last fall after remarks he made on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News program about being nervous around Muslims in airports in traditional garb. The sting operation that felled Schiller was posing as a Muslim group looking to give millions to NPR.
The board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which oversees the government funds to noncommercial radio and TV did not criticize NPR's decision to fire Williams, but it did say following the incident that given the public criticism of NPR's decision, and the fact that the decision could affect the welfare of the entire system, it was deeply concerned about its consequences on "renewed challenges to public media's journalistic integrity, Congressional attempts to reduce or eliminate funding for public media, and the impact such reductions will have on public media's future programming and services."
Noncom funding is under the gun in Washington from Republicans looking to cut the budget and zero out funding for what many see as a liberal critic of conservative policies, that despite a recent noncom-commissioned poll that found a majority of both Democrats and Republicans were opposed to zeroing out funding.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), who has introduced legislation to defund noncoms, only saw the resignation as more reason to do so. "This latest development in what appears to be an internal meltdown at National Public Radio only strengthens my resolve to eliminate all federal funding for NPR and its parent organization, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting," he said in a statement Wednesday
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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