The House Rules Committee will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday to consider legislation to permanently prohibit federal funding of National Public Radio (NPR) after conservative activist James O’Keefe released a video smearing the news organization.
The bill, H.R. 1076, was introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), who is leading the effort in the House to eliminate all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the parent organization of NPR and the Public Broadcasting Service.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) office told Politico that he will bring the bill to the House floor on Thursday.
A video created by O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas,” showed activists Shaughn Adeleye and Simon Templar posing as members of the fictional Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) and meeting with NPR Foundation President Ron Schiller and NPR Senior Director of Institutional Giving Betsey Liley.
The heavily edited video seemed to indicate that Schiller laughed when he was told that the fake Muslim group advocated for sharia law. He also allegedly said the tea party was filled with racists, and that NPR would be better off without federal funding.
The NPR Board of Directors accepted CEO Vivian Schiller’s resignation the next morning.
“I am amazed at the condescension and arrogance that we saw in the vide,” Rep. Lamborn said in a statement after the video had been released. “They are obviously out of touch with ordinary Americans.”
“The evidence is overwhelming and the video is condemning,” he added. “NPR does not need taxpayer dollars. If they, themselves, admit that they’d be better off without federal funding, there’s no need for further debate. Remove NPR from the federal budget and be done with it.”
After reviewing an mostly unedited copy of the video several days later, Dana Davis Rehm, NPR’s senior vice president of marketing, communications and external relations, came to the conclusion that many of the claims were distortions.
Even Glenn Beck’s The Blaze website observed that O’Keefe used “editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented.”
House Republicans previously tried to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in their long-term continuing resolution, but the bill failed to pass in the Senate.
In November 2010, Reps. Cantor and Lamborn introduced a motion to include the defunding of NPR in a bill meant to make it easier for federal employees to telecommute. The House voted against the measure by a vote of 239 to 171, but passed the teleworking bill.
With prior reporting by David Edwards