Posted by Scott w. Johnson “The Schiller Syndrome”
“Vivian Schiller is the wretched NPR chief executive who trashed Juan Williams for statements she declared best relegated to his psychiatrist. I detected a whiff of the punitive psychiatry employed in the late Soviet Union in Schiller’s public comment on Williams. Soviet psychiatry’s favored diagnosis for those guilty of heterodox thoughts was sluggishly progressing schizophrenia. Is Williams a victim of this malady in Schiller’s view? She clearly thought he needed therapy to address his misguided thoughts.
At the American Spectator, Jeffrey Lord raised the question whether Schiller was in fact a fan of the Soviet Union. Lord recalled Schiller’s role in the production of Ted Turner’s glowing three-part, seven-hour Portrait of the Soviet Union CNN series in 1988. Lord quoted Schiller: “At the time, Ted Turner went through this period of deep fascination with the Soviet Union…and they hired me to be a translator/production assistant/’fixer’–which in production terms is somebody in a foreign country who ‘makes it happen.’” Now she “makes it happen” at NPR.
Today Schiller spoke at the National Press Club testifying to the greatness of NPR. Her remarks are available in their entirety via this C-SPAN video. Would you enjoy listening to the sound of fingernails being scratched across the blackboard for an hour? If so, you’ll love watching Schiller’s talk.
In her remarks, Schiller revealed that she’s fluent in Russian and used to lead tours of the Soviet empire during the Communist era. It was behind the Iron Curtain that Schiller admitted learning “everything” she knows about “management and leadership.” FoxNation.com contacted Williams for his reaction. Williams commented: “I think she learned those lessons well…questioning my sanity … disparaging me in public … didn’t the Soviets send people to the gulag?”
Schiller addresses the Williams case in the video at around 26:30. According to her, it raised process issues that have been satisfactorily resolved. Everything is beautiful now at NPR. So why did NPR fire Williams? Was he fired because he uttered a politically incorrect statement on Fox News? The answer is obvious, and it belies the gist of Schiller’s remarks.
In her prepared remarks Schiller presented her case for continued public support for NPR. The House of Representatives recently voted to eliminate funding for public broadcasting in the 2011 budget and last week, Senators Jim Demint and Tom Coburn introduced legislation that would end federal funding for public radio and television stations.
Such action is long overdue. NPR can continue its relentless dissemination of the party line through the benefactions of its listeners and other supporters. It has no rightful claim to taxpayer support. (Schiller discusses NPR’s need for federal funding at around 45:00 and 49:00. Her comments are not remotely compelling.)
At around 33:00 of the video, the moderator of the event asks Schiller about the criticism that NPR is dominated by liberals in the newsroom. Schiller’s response to this question is familiar, evasive, and utterly disingenuous.
Via Hugh Hewitt (who commented sharply on Schiller’s remarks during the first half-hour of his show this afternoon).
Comment: I strongly object to folks anywhere using the wonderful traditional word, ’liberal’ in any context describing Marxist bigotries. There is nothing but appearance which might be deemed liberal about Marxism or any dogma on its dogmatic way to Marxism, such as Progressivism. A Marxist might be a liberal drinker. Marxists are Liberals at their most liberal. Some people are Democrats, but are no longer tolerant enough or command the understandings to be democrats…..Barack Hussein Obama comes to mind…..Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid…and one could produce and endlist list more.
A few Republicans are not republican minded.
Comment 2: I became aware of Vivian Schiller’s Soviet experience propagandizing for the Soviet Union when Juan Williams was fired for ‘thought crime’. She probably worked as an INTOURIST guide, meaning she was employed by this organ of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Remember, the USSR was an advanced and well developed Socialist nation…..although by then, the Party didn’t own the shirt on ones back anymore.
No one could have been employed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union without the proper mental credentials.
I do want to admit, however, that in 1990 I, too, was still fluent in speaking Russian, and returned for the second time to the Soviet Union in October of that year. It was 24 years after my first visit. Much had changed then since Leonid Breshnev was its Communist ‘guide’ when this empire still was a first class. spy-and-intrigue-filled pathetic excuse for a human’s quality of living. It was pathetic and spy-filled enough so that one rarely spoke in public whether on the street, on a bus or tram or train. A time when one could be attacked or threatened for taking pictures without permission. A time when arrangements had to be made to find remote places to have conversations where no one could be listening. There was a certain thrill accompanying the certainty one was being followed. I felt very important as an American wearing Russian clothes exploring. It was the thrill of my life.
I also admit I adored Russians with whom I talked freely. On several occasions I talked openly to hundreds of people in the streets answering their questions about me, my family, and my country……until eventually the police arrived and dispersed the crowds.
Once I revealed that I was American, whether on a beach or streetside, folks gathered like flies to ask questions or listen. Eventually party hecklers would arrive. Then the police.
My, how Russians endured the weight of government, as if this fate was destined at birth. Nearly all in the cities were aware of their condition, but unaware of an American and American life except for what they had read. I had an excellent command of the language and had been the first Russian speaking American hundreds and hundreds of these people had ever met. Also, over all, except in areas of Marxist consequence such as politics and history, the general population was very, very well educated. Unfree, but well educated, even the taxi cab drivers.
And I do confess, that in general I would describe most European Soviet citizens of that day as a ‘cultured’ peoples, a supreme compliment in the language.
It was the bureaucracy……often the common person on duty with a duty …. who kept the autocrats in business. And they could be very petty and very, very mean, jealous and untrustworthy. It was, after all, a police state…..something Americans cannot comprehend.
I don’t think Vivian Schiller learned her autocratic Marxist snobbery and judgment from her years with Intourist. She would have worked only with foreigners visiting the good old USSR anyway. By 1988 old guard Communism was about finished. In October 1990 when I visited Kiev in the Ukraine, the protests were beginning….Every night for weeks thousands and thousands gathered to mourn in public, listing the names of loved ones who had disappeared at government hands, grandfather this and brother that, sometimes entire families, while showing their pictures and in tears describing the achievements of those never again seen. I suppose I should applaud Marxism for providing me the most emotional two weeks of my life.
It would have been very difficult not to love such people.
I do believe Ms. Schiller, Marxist and all, received her M.A. in Russian at Middlebury College in Vermont.
I did as well, in 1965. My instructors, elegant people and all ex-aristocrats, had died by her time at Middlebury. The druggies and terrorists had settled into college life by then. I expect that is the crowd she belonged to…..just a guess, I could be wrong. And, yes, Scott W. Johnson, Vivian Schiller seems wretched.