Ron Schiller is out of another job--even before he begins
Former NPR chief fund raising executive Ron Schiller, whose now notorious--to some--derogatory comments about tea partiers, the uneducated whites, Republicans, Zionists, Jews and others were revealed in a sting recording, is scheduled to join the Aspen Institute as head of its Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence Program on April 1 according to an announcement released last week.
"Ron Schiller embraces and lives the values that we share as a community," said Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson, "I am very pleased that he has agreed to join us to help us build a strong and vibrant arts program, the kind of program that we believe is central to the Institute's origins and to its mission."
In accepting this position, Schiller said, "I am thrilled to join the Aspen Institute community. The Instituteâ€"with its history, its leadership, and its association with a community known around the world for its commitment to and leadership in the artsâ€"is extremely well-positioned to make a major contribution to the arts both in America and abroad, exploring both in the arts and through the arts some of the most important and fascinating challenges and opportunities facing our society."
The program's namesakes, Sidney Harman and Michael Eisner, also praised Schiller as a valuable addition to the program which they so generously funded.
Sidney Harman, Institute trustee, chairman of the Committee on the Arts and co-benefactor of the Harman-Eisner Artist-in-Residence Program said: "With the appointment of Ron Schiller, we are positioned to further integrate the arts--all the arts--into everything we do. The arts should be, and will be, organic/intrinsic in all Aspen Institute activities. We expect that with Ron's engagement, the Institute will take leadership in proselytizing the arts throughout America and the world."
Harman's fellow trustee and benefactor Michael Eisner said, "In a wonderful essay, Maxwell Anderson states 'the arts make the longest reach toward permanence, create the most enduring monuments, project the farthest, widest, deepest influence of which human prescience and effort are capable.' We have so much to contribute to society through our arts program, and I am thrilled that Ron is joining us in this leadership role."
But...but...OMG! Harman and Eisner are...Jewish! And Harman's wife, former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) spoke frequently and eloquently about the necessity to support the US's one true, stable and democratic friend in the Mideast--Israel!
Can Schiller work for such an institution? After all, on the video he publicly praised NPR as not being owned by Jews and Zionists, unlike other media.
Does the Aspen Institute leadership, which includes several Jews, not all necessarily Zionists and some conservatives now really believe that, in the words of their President and CEO Walter Isaacson, "Ron Schiller embraces and lives the values that we share as a community"?
Apparently the very public vetting of Schiller by an outside organization founded by a bunch of 20somethings finally indicated that Schiller and the Aspen Institute don't share much as a community and now
Ron Schiller has informed us that, in light of the controversy surrounding his recent statements, he does not feel that it's in the best interests of the Aspen Institute for him to come work here.
Don't cry for the newly jobless Schiller though. There are numerous organizations who share his opinions, will sympathize with him that tea partiers, conservatives, Jews, Zionists and others tricked him, denied him freedom of speech and will hire him. He should be a big hit on their lecture circuit. Maybe he'll have his own talk show.
As NPR frequently advises, "Stay tuned."