Vivian Schiller, NPR's president (who spoke to the National Press Club a few days ago), "resigned," today according to NPR. It's clear, however, that this was closer to a firing than a happy resignation.
Here's the statement from NPR board:
It is with deep regret that I tell you that the NPR Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of Vivian Schiller as President and CEO of NPR, effective immediately.
The Board accepted her resignation with understanding, genuine regret, and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years.
Vivian brought vision and energy to this organization. She led NPR back from the enormous economic challenges of the previous two years. She was passionately committed to NPR's mission, and to stations and NPR working collaboratively as a local-national news network.
All of you are absorbing the recent quick turn of events. We want to share a few thoughts from where we sit.
Vivian Schiller has been an inspiration for many inside NPR and organizations around the country.
The most recent events, however, have undermined efforts to protect funding for public broadcasting; have further damaged the already shaky working relationship between NPR, APTS, PBS, and CPB; and we suspect will have negative repercussions on the standing of your organization with your community.
In the long-run, we believe that Vivian Schiller's decision to resign as President and CEO of NPR, and the NPR board's decision to accept her resignation, is in the best interests of both NPR and the station community.
The NPR board will have to make several important decisions in the coming weeks, all in the continuing context of the federal funding challenge. We want SRG to be a source of good strategic thinking in all of this and look forward to your best thinking and support in this process.
A conference call is reportedly scheduled soon with reporters and I hope to monitor that and we'll update this post through the day as need be. In the meantime, share you thoughts.
This latest incident stems from the conservative filmmaker's video of NPR's chief fundraiser, reported on here yesterday.
9:51 a.m. - Media critic Jeff Jarvis has a think-piece about the relationship between NPR and its affiliates. It's more of a "this is what I think" than a "this is what I know" piece in that it suggests the role of affiliates as content producers/distributors is ebbing. That's not really true. NPR only control four public radio shows in the nation. And affiliates have increasingly been turning to new ways to distribute their content to other public radio stations. It also suggests an increase chasm between NPR and its affiliates, when actually that long-standing angst has lessened significantly in recently years. Arguably, there's been more symbiosis than in recent years.
10:00 a.m. Dave Edwards, the chairman of the board of NPR is about to hold a conference call. I'm live blogging it here.
Edwards: The board accepted Vivian Schiller's resignation last night. It was a difficult decision for the board to accept. She came to NPR at a time of great economic difficulty and led the board back from enormous financial challenges.
10:04 a.m.: Edwards: The organization has faced significant challenges. Vivian is not responsible for the mistakes that were made, but the CEO of any organization is responsible for the actions.
10:06 a.m. - Joyce Slocum, the VP of legal affairs for NPR, is now in charge pending a search for a new CEO.
Edwards: It was the wisest decision we could make.
Q: We're hearing from critics of NPR that NPR has a problem and that its executives don't understand how to conduct themselves in ways that are consistent with NPR's mission. What do you think about that?
A: Edwards: When I watched a portion of the video that I saw yesterday -- I'm told its two hours in length and was edited -- but I have to tell you watching that video, I felt that the comments being made were so opposite, so ... I cannot tell you how much it bothered to me to my core as to what was being said. What was being expressed there has never been expressed to me by anybody from the NPR staff, the NPR board. NPR, I believe, is a welcoming organization to a variety of viewpoints.
Q: Obviously the comments crossed the line. But either he accepted it or he was telling the donors what they wanted to hear to get their money. In either case, there's a question of a management culture.
A: Edwards: We have a responsibility as an organization to point out we don't support those kinds of views. The comments we made yesterday should telegraph that and the decision to part company with Vivian Schiller should demonstrate that.
Q: Who in the leadership team are you referring to when you say you have confidence in them?
A: Edwards: The board's primary responsibility is always with the CEO. We are very comfortable with Joyce Slocum moving into this position in an interim capacity simply because she has a relationship with the leadership team and knows what's going on.
Every member of the adminsitrative team in place, including the interim VP of news, we feel is an absolutely incredible team of individuals who care deeply about the future of news and the future of our industry.
As I have said, we will be establishing a transitional committee with the board to make determinations as to how we move forward.
Q: It's been reported that Vivian was asked to resign.
A: The board had a wideranging conversation last night about what has transpired in recent months and about how the organization needed to move forward. Vivian... offered to step aside if that was the board's will and the board decided that was in the best interest of the organization.
Q: What message does this send to Congress?
A: Everything that has transpired in the last six months has complicated our fight to maintain federal funding. We established a public media collaborative to make the case to Congress for why federal funding is so critical to our industry. That does not change with the departure of Vivian Schiller. The board will continue to make the case that without federal funding, a lot of our public radio/TV stations could go dark.
Q: Has anyone in Congress changed their mind about funding after this?
A: I haven't talked to anyone in Congress.
Q: Is this the worst threat ?
A: The funding is so absolutely critical as an industry. We have to articulate that in the best way possible.
Q: Do you still have support from Democrats and the Obama adminstration?
A: I would certainly hope so.
Q: Do you feel NPR was unfairly targeted by the filmmaker? Was this an ambush?
A: Edwards: I haven't focused on how it was staged and set up. The process worked. When NPR was originally contacted by this supposed organization, there was a lot of due diligence done when dollars are offered to NPR. In terms of researching the organization, and making sure the organization understood the firewall when any organization offered a donation. That process worked. It was the comments of the individuals at the table -- presuming they weren't edited -- those comments are what ran counter to the way NPR operates and what NPR believes.
Q: By pressuring your CEO to resign, it seems the problem goes beyond one guy who was leaving NPR anyway. Doesn't that mean there's a problem beyond someone who misspoke at a lunch meeting?
A: Edwards: The events that took place created such a distraction that it hindered Vivian Schiller's ability to lead the organization going forward.
Q: This organization was fictitious. I have trouble understanding how due diligence was conducted to the point your VP even met with them?
A: Edwards: This alleged organization contacted NPR development and I would say... it would be appropriate for an NPR executive to have a conversation with a potential donor. But NPR never accepted a check from this organization and I've been told following the luncheon is when the checking began.
Q: Any changes to that process now?
A: The process worked. We're talking about the comments made by an individual at lunch.
Q: There's been criticism that NPR is bowing to the "right" on this. And that it's going to weaken the organization in the long run.
A: I don't believe it weakens the organization at all. People will believe what they want to believe. If people hold certain beliefs strongly enough, I 'm not going to change that. I live in Wisconsin, take a look at the papers. The interim executive team is going to be able to move forward on the initiatives that took place. We continue to be a preeminent news organization. Nothing stops that.
>>> This concludes the conference call. <<<
10:28 a.m. -- Minnpost's David Brauer tweeted today, wondering if Bill Kling could be convinced to step in as NPR's CEO. The response from APM/MPR's communication director, Bill Gray:
I know that Bill plans to remain involved in the continuing evolution of public media in the United States. He hasn't discussed any specifics beyond that with me. And with the NPR development so new I don't think he'd see it as appropriate to speculate around that.
10:45 a.m. - Bill Kling's message to his staff, e-mailed today:
There is no doubt that this is a challenging time for public media on many levels. But we all need to keep reminding ourselves that these problems are National Public Radio's problems - not ours. Do they affect us? Absolutely. Do they threaten our efforts to make the case for the importance of federal funding? Yes. But do they reflect on APM|MPR? No they do not. We have a deep pool of talented people that have built this organization through the years into a recognized leader in the public media industry, and we will retain that reputation for leadership moving forward.
At this time it is incumbent upon us and our public media partners to step up and provide counsel and leadership to the system as it begins its recovery from these events on the national level. We also need to remember the most important focus of all - the 900 thousand listeners to our regional services and 16 million listeners to our national programming that tune us in each week.
"I obviously had no prior knowledge" of the executive's comments, "and nothing to do with them, and disavowed them as soon as I learned of them all. But I'm the C.E.O., and the buck stops here," she said in an interview Wednesday morning.
She added, "I'm hopeful that my departure from NPR will have the intended effect of easing the defunding pressure on public broadcasting." Ms. Schiller has been campaigning in recent months against potential funding cuts.
10:56 a.m. - Ron Schiller, the former NPR development boss whose comments led to Vivian Schiller's (no relation) resignation, was leaving NPR anyway to take a job with the Aspen Institute. He has now decided not to take that job.
11:34 a.m. - NPR's Talk of the Nation is going to pick up the discussion during today's show.
11:40 a.m. - MPR doesn't carry the Diane Rehm show but you can find today's broadcast with NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard on the Schiller firing here. Other guests were:
Tucker Carlson political commentator and founder of The Daily Caller
Patrick Butler President and C.E.O of the Association of Public Television Stations
Brooke Gladstone host of "On The Media"
David Edwards director and general manager, WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio
chair of the NPR board
Stephen Moore member of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board.
Paul Farhi Staff writer at the Washington Post covering media
1:28 p.m. - NPR's ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, really let's NPR have it.
He's right. Schiller comes across as an effete, well-educated, liberal intellectual - just exactly the stereotype that critics long have used against NPR and other bastions of the news media. It's also a stereotype that NPR journalists try hard to combat every day in their newsgathering.
One has to wonder why NPR's head of development and another senior staffer would meet with a prospective donor who had no history of philanthropy and nothing more than a phony web site as credentials. Don't they research potential donors?
People at NPR yesterday were angry and dazed by this episode, which is just the latest in a series of events that put the company in the worst possible light. Doesn't anyone in NPR's top management think of the consequences before they act?
1:41 p.m. - Shepard has just concluded a "chat" at the Washington Post site. Not much new, but this is probably the essence of it:
Q.How many Republicans work for NPR?
A. Don't know. I wasn't asked that when I joined NPR. And I'm not sure it's relevant. Diversity is more than political beliefs. I'm more interested in how many people NPR has working for it who have blue collar backgrounds, or were in the military, or come from Nebraska.
2:01 p.m. - David Edwards, the NPR Board Chair is now address reporters at public radio stations around the country. I'm live blogging this, too. I'm not going to retype all of his previous comments but I will relay the questions and answers.
Q: How does NPR need to be repositioned?
A: The series of events of the last six months have become a distraction and the board felt it hindered her ability lead the organization.
Q: How does NPR begin to clean up the damage that's been done to the stations who have had nothing to do with this?
A: There are clearly challenges we face. I manage a public radio station in Milwaukee and we've been careful to explain our relationship with NPR. NPR has to make clear that we're an organization that has strong corporate values....we're obviously a very important journalistic organization to the American people. We must have credibility at all times, and we have a very strong executive team in place.
Q: Do you feel Schiller leaves NPR in a more difficult situation than when she arrived?
A: The difficulties are different; I don't know which are worse. She accomplished a lot. We're much further ahead. The collaboration between NPR and stations in journalism and fundraising are in far better shape now than they were two years ago. I don't want to give the impression that Vivian was not an effective leader.
Q: Are you confident that the tape that's out there is complete and accurate?
A: I have not see the two hours. I have to believe that it's somewhat of a portrayal.
Q:There's a feeling among a segment of Americans that NPR has a political bias, and it's not just a few people. How do you combat that?
A: What I heard (on the tape) bothered me to my core. I've been in this business for a long time and I like many of us embrace the values of an organization and an industry that is open to a wide variety of views. They were clearly the views of an individual. Those views are not representing any of the views of anyone inside the company. I found them to be repulsive.
2:13 p.m. Q:Is NPR going to provide training to staff about expressing personal opinions in public?
A: We've asked for a review of our news ethics policy. We obviously have to have a sensitivity to the comments that are shared with different publics.
2:16 p.m. - Q: Do we have a solid top level management team?
A: We have individuals who bring a wide variety of experience. Joyce Slocum has extensive legal experience, the director of news has been in the business for decades. I believe that there is a strong team in place. Once a new CEO is on board, it will be up to that person to take a look at the structure.
2:19 p.m. - We had a tough fall in fundraising because of the Juan Williams situation. Are we getting some help from the network? We're a rural station, we get 30 percent of our funding from the CPB.
A: The development team released some material this morning on how stations might want to pitch given this situation. I'll defer to the experts. The head of the public media association are fully engaged in the messaging to members of Congress.
2:21 p.m. - Why the news ethics review when the problem came from your development wing?
A: The ethics review is something the board called for last November. That is purely focusing on news ethics for the organization. That has not changed because of the events of the last few days.
2:27 p.m. - Is there any NPR policy that an organization with ties to Muslim Brotherhood would be considered for a donation?
A: Every donation that is considered is carefully vetted. Anytime a donor calls and says we'd like to talk, we consider that.
2:28 p.m. Why did PBS turn down the conversation altogether?
A: I can't speak for PBS.
>>That concludes the conference call.
4:10 p.m. - Alicia Shepard just tweeted:
"Ron Schiller said in the full two hour Okeefe video he is a Republican, and was raised as a Republican. that didn't make it in video."
5:42 p.m. - Here's David Folkenflik's story recapping the day.
While the firing of Ms Schiller may be a beginning, it does little toward bringing Public Radio back to representing the entire public rather than a narrow fringe of elite leftists.
Allow me to make a suggestion. Seek out and hire conservatives the same way you would seek out and hire members of groups under-represented in the newsroom. The effect will be immediate. For a change, someone will stand up and say, "You know, maybe you should reword that."
I will give you an example - right here on NewsCut.
On March 1st of this year, Michael Olson posted this lead on NewsCut: "1) GLOBAL WARMING DENIER BLOCKS FUNDS FOR ENVIRO RESEARCH"
Can anyone see the problem here?
The use of the term "denier" is both derogatory and technically incorrect. It is a repulsive term that equates skepticism over climate change projections with Holocaust denial and is the kind of language one would expect of MoveOn.org rather than MPR.org.
For future reference, a person who disagrees with the consensus view is a dissident.
To better understand the difference between a denier and a skeptic, here is an analogy that fits well with the climate debate.
- Someone who cannot accept that the Vikings failed to make the play-offs last year is a denier.
- Someone who will not accept predictions that they will make the play-offs this coming season is a skeptic.
The fact that no one at MPR caught this - scream volumes. You desperately need someone in the newsroom who will catch these things.
"If I have to go on record and say global warming -- I think it's a farce, I think it's a fallacy. When it comes to that kind of studying, I can't be anything other than honest, I just don't buy it. And I think there's a lot of folks that don't."
- Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria
Doesn't sound very skeptical to me.
Hire conservatives? Conservatives are not a demographic financially supporting public media and never will be a significant source of support.
What NPR, and other public media organizations, need to do is to utilize the backbone it was given, by its supporters, and stand up to those seeking its destruction. I am tired of left-leaning parties bowing down to conservative pundits, in spite of the overwhelming support of the liberal community. It is time to do what conservatives are so great at: stand united and refuse to put a tail between the legs.
But this is a blog. I assume NewsCut doesn't get vetted by the newsroom.
Greg, was there an actual news story posted on MPR that used the headline that you found offensive, or was it just the blog entry? I think it's an important distinction, although it gets blurrier all the time.
We need not debate global warming in this forum because I doubt if anyone here understands it. I mean, how well do you understand climate sensitivity to water-vapor feedbacks in the mid-latitude upper-troposphere?
Do worry if you don't because the IPCC doesn't either, even though their predictions are based on it.
Regardless, public broadcasting should not be calling people derogatory names. They don't do it with African-Americans, Jew, Italians or Polish people; they shouldn't do it with those who dissent from orthodox view either.
Tyler, I agree with you. Public Radio should free itself of the public funding shackles and let its soul run free in the garden of leftist idealism.
Until then, as long as it accepts tax money, it must represent all the public, not just the people it thinks like.
And what about the station located in a rural area lacking the necessary financial structure to sustain itself within its community, where a station would be unable to continue broadcasting to a community reliant on its coverage of local issues - stations that tend to lead its listeners in a direction no where near the so called "garden of leftist idealism" (i.e. cattle market reports).
"But this is a blog. I assume NewsCut doesn't get vetted by the newsroom. - Garrett"
NewsCut is an MPR blog, not a personal blog. There is a difference, someone needs to vet the content.
Sorry Tyler, you cannot have it both ways. If you want tax money you cannot be partisan. Ask yourself which is more important, rural stations or the urban academic leftist elite.
Pick one or the other.
As I've mentioned many times, there is a quid pro quo involved with federal funding for public broadcasting. I've been unable to determine whether Congress is delinking that aspect of it.
Should public radio now be allowed to issue, for example, "calls to action" on behalf of third parties? Public radio can't do that now.
Even to help save the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra from bankruptcy years ago, we needed to file a request with he government for permission to tell people to help save the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
What part of the quo do you want to get rid of along with the quid?
Is there a full version of the hidden camera video? While many of the statements show were certainly out of line, I would be interested to see the entire conversation in context.
You complain that the use of the term "denier" is derogatory, only to turn around with the accusation "urban academic leftist elite", which, aside from the blatancy with which you use the cliche, is a compliment.
With that said, I do not wholly disagree with your ultimatum regarding public funds or biased coverage, but if the public funds are withdrawn, it is the responsibility of the government to establish a network that will allow a rural community to access vital information, such as tornado warnings, flood warnings, forest fire warnings, etc, a service currently provided by public radio.
News Cut is answerable to the same people that everyone else in the newsroom is answerable to.
News Cut's mission is to encourage a dialog -- an intelligent, educated (I like that word instead of "elitist") dialog -- among people who may disagree with each other, in the time-honored tradition that we are better informed when we consider all views, rather than define "dialog" as "my army against yours; let's see who's left standing when we're done."
It encourages us to examine why we think the things we do and what knowledge process in thinking the things we think.
As a people, contrary to what today's media might convey, more than just liberals and conservatives.
We are from all walks of life, backgrounds, professions, experiences, places and we each have stories to tell that are much more interesting than the political views we want to repeat over and over again.
News Cut's mission is to continue to try to nudge people in that direction.
If it screws up sometimes, well, that's the way it goes. So do you.
OK? So talk to each other now.
The full two-hour video is here.
(Comment about other commenters removed) Conservative voices are overrepresented in media, and FOX News itself acts as both a news outlet *and* an activist organization (its role in promoting the tea party protests is undeniable by anyone who watched the station during that time).
Has MPR/NPR called liberals to action in Wisconsin? Have they organized rallies?
From my perspective, NPR is one of the few rational news stations left. I frequently get irritated with reporting on NPR that I think lets conservatives either frame the debate or lets them speak without an equivalent voice from the actual left - not the center. However, on the whole I value what they do.
As for GregS's sassy little line about climate, I'm assuming that means he's a climate researcher - but it would be nice for him to cite his qualifications as opposed to throwing around some language and implying that he knows more than everyone else. I'd like to get a read on the level of respect fellow scientists have for his work (assuming he is a scientist and not a lay person with a dictionary).
@Josiah - Two hour version here:
I appreciate an honest, respectful, dialog between individuals, but it has become abundantly clear to me that the conservative movement in America has pushed its agenda through by refusing to indulge the will of others to speak on common ground. I believe that there is a time for a group, however reasonable its members would like to be, given ideal circumstance, to fight back and not allow the stubborn to prevail - hashing it out as gentlemen/gentlewomen is not always the answer.
My frustration comes from the constant sacrifice of a progressive agenda by politicians, not NPR - certainly I am not frustrated by you, Mr. Collins - but venting is sometimes necessary.
"If it screws up sometimes, well, that's the way it goes. So do you. - Bob Collins"
Granted, everyone screws up and a lot of times we do so because we lack knowledge and perspective.
I have said this before and I will say it again, MPR does a fine job, that is why I listen.
I have also said this before and I will say it again, public broadcasting has a strong liberal perspective that allows things like a flagrant lack of cultural/political sensitivity to slip right by the editorial process.
There is a reason why public broadcasting is perceived as having a leftist slant and I guess you simply have to be on the other side of the political social spectrum to see it.
// the other side of the political social spectrum to see it.
What I find interesting there is that it buttresses my assertion that dialogue in this country has created the illusion that there are only two "sides." That everyone is all on one.... or all on the other.
That's not true as evidenced by your use of the word "spectrum."
Spectrum implies a range. Now, it's true that on the color spectrum, blue is pretty close to being on the other side of red. But, in fact, there is also yellow, orange, green, aqua etc.
It has been to the benefit of the extreme left and the extreme right to create this illusion. It has helped them monopolize the conversation for their own purposes.
To an extent, political reporters in particular -- who seem to dominate newsrooms -- are guilty of this too.
But what it doesn't do is provide any sort of real value to the oranges, aquas, purples, and yellows because it's based on a lie -- that there aren't any oranges, aquas, purples, or yellows... that there really isn't a spectrum.
The truth? There really is.
I, for one, appreciate GregS' presence here. His intelligence shows that not all arch conservatives are ignorant ( he is a fine example of the exception that proves the rule).
His argumentative skills should be received as a gift, from which those of us who might disagree with him can better hone our own positions.
And give him a little slack - he operates out of a paradigm which was dragged kicking and screaming into accepting the fact that the earth revolves around the sun, and not the other way around. :-)
1) Let's try to be polite even though we disagree.
2) Conservatives have a very small voice in the media. The astonishing success of FOXNEWS and talk-radio is testament to the wisdom of addressing an under-served market. Black Entertainment Television (BET) and various Latino channels have experienced equal success in their respective markets by following the same strategy.
3) I am not a climate scientist but anyone who is familiar with the climate debate or has read the IPCC AR4 report knows that it is the amplification of water vapor feedback and not carbon dioxide level (per se) that is difference between insignificant and catastrophic warming. Since the science of water-vapor feedbacks is sketchy at best - there is plenty of room for skepticism.
I agree with you that the world is multi-faceted and that it is fallacy to suggest it is a monochrome with conservatives and liberals anchoring the ends.
Still there are things we can say about people in general. We tend to form ethnic, social, racial and cultural clusters. For example, people who live in rural areas tend to think differently than their urban cousins. Sure, you can find a lot of exceptions - but the facts still remain.
We also tend to think like our peers. Organizational researchers have been telling us this for years.
I am sorry, Bob, but when you say people at MPR are diverse, while I will agree with you, I will also tell you that any organization like public broadcasting develops a culture.
You may not see it but others do and a great deal of the anger coming from Conservatives toward public broadcasting is based on this culture.
If NPR and MPR took the time and studied it, it would come out clearly on the page. It is that obvious.
GregS, I like having you here, too. But did you just compare conservatives to actual minority groups? My goodness, I think you did!
I'm sorry, but I'm laughing. I didn't think you liked "us" to get all "PC", but it really sounds like you're asking for those courtesies. Sort of throws me.
"he operates out of a paradigm which was dragged kicking and screaming into accepting the fact that the earth revolves around the sun, and not the other way around - Jim Shapiro"
Huh? My wife says I think the world revolves around me.
You are right, I believe that conservatives are an under-represented minority in public broadcasting. And yes, technically they are a minority, the same as political progressives who though a minority are an over-represented one in the media.
It used to be that women (who are the majority) were under-represented in the newsroom - and we did something about it, didn't we?
Ask yourself, why is it important to hear all voices?
I wish I could better articulate the thoughts racing through my head. There may be a bias, though personally I can't tell by listening or reading. The only reason the idea enters my mind is because of the constant drone from the right who claim the bias in the first place. The claim has always been there, it’s just gotten a lot louder lately. I consider myself a centrist, though the fact that I am an NPR left-bias denier (I don’t take issue with that term, as some do), would make those on the right consider me an elitist left-winger. I am not. I am a typical citizen who appreciates NPR for the services they provide. There are a lot of things my tax dollars pay for that I don’t like – NPR, however, is one of things I’m happy to support.
Plus, Bob Collins rocks. That is all.
Well said regarding a spectrum of thought vs. the left against right idea that these debates seem to be falling into.
I agree with your initial point about "Global Warming Denier" having an ideological flavor to it. However, that's one word by one guest blogger and in itself not convincing evidence of a problem across all of public media.
Honestly I'm not convinced that there is a way to remove all perception of bias from a news source. We all are bringing preconceptions, opinions, and preferences when we take in the content that media provides. I think the problem is that those color our perception of what is fair and balanced.
When Bob talks about a spectrum of thought, it's easy to say "Well, green is midway between blue and red. So MPR/NPR/PBS should stay in the green." But how you define green is almost certainly different from what I would define as green. When you say "you simply have to be on the other side of the political social spectrum to see it", is the problem you're seeing something that exists outside our own perspectives, or is it a problem you see precisely because you're on the conservative side of the spectrum?
If this is the case, how do we go about creating some sort of metric to determine what really constitutes bias in media?
//Plus, Bob Collins rocks
Alright! Focusing on areas we all agree on first! Good strategy!~ (g)
I was not aware that NPR executive Ron Schiller was in anyway involved in the news department of NPR. This to me seems to be a case of an individual expressing a personal opinion. Although it is probably an understatement to say that this creates a perception problem for Public Broadcasting.
@ andy -
If Bob in fact "rocks", it is still further evidence of the genre-biased nature of MPR.
While "rocking" was once dominant, it is currently a minority position, and should be balanced by hip-hopping, country-ing, and polka-ing, in order to equitably represent the tastes of the tax paying public.
I expect more from MPR.
First, Bob does indeed rock.
Second, I am very annoyed and sad about this NPR thing. It was so stupid, and didn't have to happen if Ron Schiller had just thought beyond his nose. I think I remember reading about a policy at NPR that anyone, even non-journalists, have to refrain from showing partisanship in public. And anyone who breaches that policy in the worst imaginable and destructive way deserves to be fired. I just hope that other organizations that The Right wants to bring down, including public sector workers and unions, will keep these gotcha creeps in mind as they conduct their business.
“…reporting on NPR that I think lets conservatives either frame the debate or lets them speak without an equivalent voice from the actual left - not the center. However, on the whole I value what they do.”
That’s exactly what frustrates me about NPR, too, but I also “value what they do.” They (and MPR, which frustrates me in the same way) are the best of what’s available on that medium.
I think that the reason conservatives dislike and want to destroy NPR is that NPR
a.) airs SOME otherwise unheard voices, and 2.) gets closer to the truth than most other news outlets. Conservatives don’t like it when the truth is told. That’s why they claim that the news media in general are “liberal.” They’re trying to discredit them. Meanwhile they give a pass to and even celebrate Fox news.
Mr. Schiller was performing a fund raising function. I am not surprised that an "off the record" conversation with a potential donor would include opinions and statements geared to make the donor feel like they are contibuting to a like-minded organization. Maybe I'm jaded, but that is what I would expect from someone in marketing/fundraising.
How does this compare to a Wisconsin governor who agrees (with someone misrepresented as a major donor) that taking a baseball bat to protestors is a good idea?
I'd hate to see public radio cravenly cater to conservative opinions and do things like giving news time to creationists out of a warped sense of truth, just as I'd hate to see public radio cater to 9/11 truthers. But that's exactly what would happen if NPR or MPR were forced to cover such "news" on the basis of teaching the controversy. Let's keep public media from being a sock puppet for anyone's politics. Schiller had to go, even if he was set up deliberately, and NPR does need to assure people it's not letting personal politics affect what it does as a news provider.
"I agree with your initial point about "Global Warming Denier" having an ideological flavor to it. However, that's one word by one guest blogger and in itself not convincing evidence of a problem across all of public media. - Chris N."
Correct me if I am wrong but the guy who wrote the headline is an MPR staffer, not a "guest blogger".
Ask yourself this, if it had been a derogatory term addressing race, gender or sexual preference, how many seconds do you think would elapse before it was caught and quashed?
This lack of sensitivity speaks to the culture of the newsroom.
"Honestly I'm not convinced that there is a way to remove all perception of bias from a news source. We all are bringing preconceptions, opinions, and preferences when we take in the content that media provides. I think the problem is that those color our perception of what is fair and balanced.. - Chris N."
The danger is not the lack of "fair and balanced" reporting, it is the insular nature of the media culture.
I will give you two classic examples of where the wheels came off the wagon because the press simply could not shed its institutional biases - both cases concern public hysterias.
1) Beginning in 1983, a series of sex-abuse allegations were made in Jordan Minnesota that resulted in twenty-four people being arrested and charged with sex-abuse.
Anyone reading the allegations today would be aghast at how utterly stupid the police, prosecutors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and press were. Yet it took almost a year for the state to shake itself out of its politically correct hysteria and come to its senses.
The real shocker came when a subsequent investigation proved that none of the principles involved actually tried to independently verify the accusations.
Everyone failed, but the sad part of the story is that one good reporter could have earned themselves a Pulitzer by simply checking the facts.
2) For a decade, the British Met Office (equal to our NOAA) had been so caught up in global warming hysteria that it convinced municipalities all over island to reduce their stockpiles of grit (a mixture of sand and salt). because in the Met's view, severe winters were a thing of the past.
When the phenomena known as Arctic Oscillation reversed itself, as it does every few decades, and the the jet stream gave Britain three cold years in row, dozens of people died and hundreds were injured as a result of traffic accidents caused by untreated icy roads.
All it would have taken was one BBC reporter asking the Met how a tenth of a degree rise in temperature over a decade could possible abolish cold winter.
So we are not talking about fair and balanced here, what we are speaking of is the dangers of allowing a narrow woldview to dominate the newsroom.
//How does this compare to a Wisconsin governor who agrees (with someone misrepresented as a major donor) that taking a baseball bat to protestors is a good idea?
I can answer that. Mr. Schiller represented a company that is not supposed to dispense -- on or off the record -- opinions of this nature.
Mr. Walker does not.
Mr. Walker's comments -- though I doubt it was seriously mentioned as a plan of violence -- were certainly insensitive and stupid and pretty much what you might expect from a hyperpartisan in a political battle.
NPR isn't supposed to employ hyperpartisans.
Off topic, so I don't know if this ought to be mentioned here, but regarding water vapor and global warming, keep in mind that it's the amount of carbon dioxide that human activity (mainly the burning of fossil fuels) which has significantly boosted CO2 levels, and that this is what has increased the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. This is the feedback mechanism that's causing the overall warming of the planet.
On topic, it's programs like Science Friday that do a good job of discussing such issues, but for some reason when Ira Flatow has invited new Republicans in Congress to discuss the subject they don't take him up on it. Perhaps Ira needs to introduce himself as David Koch to get their attention.
"I'd hate to see public radio cravenly cater to conservative opinions and do things like giving news time to creationists out of a warped sense of truth, just as I'd hate to see public radio cater to 9/11 truthers. But that's exactly what would happen if NPR or MPR were forced to cover such "news" on the basis of teaching the controversy. - David W"
Really? Does that mean I no longer have to suffer through wack-a-doodle environmentalists and feminist gender theories on All Things Considered?
Oh please, please, please, say it is so!!!
But have no fear...
Representing the public does not mean that one has to cater to every wacko with an opinion, like how Terry Gross runs her show, it is more like treating people with respect.
At least in my opinion, creationists have the same lack of credibility as socialists, however I want to know what both think and why.
After a story about creationists or socialists I want to understand why they think the way they do and though I still might disagree with them, I want to be able to have a new-found respect for them as people.
In other words, I don't want public broadcasting framing my opinion of them. I want NPR and MPR to respect both me and the public and not get their beliefs between us.
You see where I am coming from?
"Off topic, so I don't know if this ought to be mentioned here, but regarding water vapor and global warming, keep in mind that it's the amount of carbon dioxide that human activity (mainly the burning of fossil fuels) which has significantly boosted CO2 levels, and that this is what has increased the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. This is the feedback mechanism that's causing the overall warming of the planet. - David W"
Sorry to get a little off topic, but while I agree with most of what David W says about climate there are some serious issues with his statement.
The positive water-vapor feedback is a theory. It is also one that is not dependent on carbon-dioxide levels but merely on a rise in temperature. In other words, it is temperature driven, not CO2 driven.
It is also not proven science. We do not know if or how much water -vapor will heat or cool the planet (ie, whether it is a positive or negative feedback).
The consensus is that it is a positive feedback - that it will amplify the heating of the planet - however, that view is highly speculative. - yet the IPCC stakes the economic future of our society on an unproven theory.
The problem is that few people know this and the media does a very poor job of conveying the uncertainties of climate science.
Terry Gross is a tremendously talented and insightful interviewer, especially when it comes to people in the arts. 'Nuff said.
Regarding CO2, the physics are rock solid with respect to it being a gas that captures some of the infrared radiation that radiates from the Earth and keeps it from being re-radiated back into space, thus warming the lower atmosphere. What makes it the most important factor in greenhouse warming is how it persists in the atmosphere, unlike water vapor. While some CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by plant photosynthesis, human burning of fossil fuels is producing far more CO2 than plants can remove, which is why proposals for carbon sequestration (removal of CO2) are being made. The best thing would be to lower CO2 emissions in the near term, and while this is technically doable, it's another matter politically. Especially when it comes to getting drivers to go 55 mph.
Let's not do the global warming discussion here. Pull up one of the dozens of NC similar conversations and meet there; I think the comments sections on them are still open.
"Terry Gross is a tremendously talented and insightful interviewer, especially when it comes to people in the arts. 'Nuff said. - David W"
Sure, I listen to her every week. She is interesting - kind of like my crazy Aunt Harriet.
"Regarding CO2, the physics are rock solid with respect to it being a gas that captures some of the infrared radiation that radiates from the Earth and keeps it from being re-radiated back into space, thus warming the lower atmosphere. - David W"
Why are you telling us this?
Obviously you know nothing of the global warming debate.
No one disputes the physics of CO2. and no one disputes the fact that even a doubling of CO2 would only cause an insignificant rise in earth temperature- In other words, without the handy theory of a strong water-vapor feedback, the threat of rising CO2 levels is about as serious as the threat of invasion by Costa Rica.
Whether or not the earth responds with high positive or negative feedbacks is called climate sensitivity and is the crux of the climate science debate.
The science on water-vapor feedback is shaky at best.
We would hope that public broadcasting and other media would be honest with us and explain the real issues involved in the climate science debate - instead we get press releases from environmentalist groups as news.
Interesting tweet from Alicia Shepard:
"Ron Schiller said in the full two hour Okeefe video he is a Republican, and was raised as a Republican. that didn't make it in video."
""Ron Schiller said in the full two hour Okeefe video he is a Republican, and was raised as a Republican. that didn't make it in video. - Bob Collins"
What is the significance of that? Like you say Bob, we all come in difference colors. I've heard Blue-dog Democrats say things about Progressive Democrats that no conservative would be mean enough to imagine.
Sorry for the distraction, Bob.
On topic again, I do wonder if Bill Kling would be seen as a potential CEO for NPR at this critical time. I know for some he'd be a problematic choice, but there's no doubt Kling is very smart and resourceful, and more importantly he has a deep and abiding desire in public radio.
Bob - please keep us posted on the information that Ron Schiller is a republican. I'd like to see the source - the unedited video - if it becomes available. Or a statement from R. Schiller himself would do, but please - keep us updated on this. Thanks!
We have seen this type of so called reporting before. O'keefe (Acorn), Breitbart (Shirley Sherrod) and the most recent one by Buffalo Beast editor Ian Murphy which involved Scott Walker.
Do you think that there is a future for this type of entrapment style of journalism? Or will it continue to be used in a partisan manner ?
While it doesn't negate what else Schiller said, it is interesting to hear he may also have said he was a Republican, if only to let a little of the hyperpartisan air out of the debate about NPR funding.
How does the fact that Schiller claimed to be a Republican change anything?
NPR's ombudsman, Alicia Shepard said it best, "Schiller comes across as an effete, well-educated, liberal intellectual - just exactly the stereotype that critics long have used against NPR and other bastions of the news media. It's also a stereotype that NPR journalists try hard to combat every day in their newsgathering."
Believe it or not, there are "liberal" Republicans.
The problem with NPR is liberal culture not party affiliation.
How would it change anything?
I don't know. Why would you edit it out?
I'm told the audio of David Folkenflik's story that aired on All Things Considered tonight will be available here after 6pm.
Feel free to pick it apart. Was he fair and balanced? Did an improper opinion come through? Analyze.
Schiller's claim to party affiliation is a none issue, however his liberal elitist attitudes are.
Let me guess, public broadcasting can claim to be 100% diverse because in addition to white liberals, black liberals, asian liberals, gay liberals, latino liberals, they now have (drum roll please) a Republican liberal.
Actually I am waiting for Jon Stewart to wade in on this. Let me guess..... WTF!!!
Exactly, Bob. Why edit it out except to perpetuate the stereotype that NPR is biased against the right?
Also - not many on the right are eager to promote the idea of debating amongst ourselves as to what conservatism means today.
It was really a two-fer. Don't let people know NPR hires Republican fund raisers and don't let conservatives know there is internal concern about the fringe.
GregS said: "The problem with NPR is liberal culture not party affiliation."
That depends on your definition of "liberal." Almost as misused as "conservative."
"That depends on your definition of "liberal." Almost as misused as "conservative. - Drae"
Not my definition - Ron Schiller's words defined him. The same goes for Vivian Schiller.
Again, the problem is as NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard said, "effete, well-educated, liberal intellectual".
Good luck with trying to mask that with a claim of party affiliation from a man who has lost all credibility.
GregS - first of all, that's not what Shepard said. She said: "Schiller comes across as an effete, well-educated, liberal intellectual."
He "came across" that way because he actually is not a liberal intellectual. He's a conservative. If you want to have Schiller's words define him, you have to use all his words, and not the edited version lest you stoop to tricks we admonish our opponents for using.
It's quite possible to be a conservative and have differing views on the tea party. Is the right supposed to walk in lock-step like we've chided on the left? Or do we allow free thinking? Do we chide the left for their fringe and ignore our own?
Now - if you want to discuss media bias on its merits, you are going to have to deal with the fact NPR hired a republican fund raiser. Kind of weakens the bias argument, imo.
@Tyler Moody Suter: "Conservatives are not a demographic financially supporting public media and never will be a significant source of support."
Yeah - too bad Koch has given generously to PBS and countless conservatives are also members.
See - this is the same sort of bias in reverse, as if no conservative anywhere has ever watched Sesame Street. Not a single republican in this town listens to the Current. Spare me.
Give individual people a little more credit for having some nuance, eh?
Is this a record Bob? 56 comments so far? I'm just sitting on the sidelines clinging to my addiction to non commercial media. Hoping congress doesn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
No, 56 isn't even close to a record. That stupid "Miss Me Yet" billboard generated all sorts of tired back-and-forth.
"He "came across" that way because he actually is not a liberal intellectual. He's a conservative.- David W"
No, he came across that way because he is that way. Are you suggesting he faked it for two hours? We may abhor his closed-minded bigotry but we have to admit the man's behavior was genuine.
Let's get real, party affiliation is no proxy for being conservative or liberal. Like I said earlier, most blue-dog Democrats are more conservative than most registered Republicans.
But why would anyone believe Schiller when he says he is a Republican? The man is a true to the bone say-anything sleaze ball liberal who would make any claim to bolster his position.
"Conservatives are not a demographic financially supporting public media and never will be a significant source of support.- Tyler"
I have manned the phones at MPR during membership week many times. Have you?
If you have you would know how many callers complain about the bias they hear. Before The Current, the only music MPR offered was classical (and some folk) which trends toward an older more conservative demographic.
From my experience, 1 out of 4 callers who indicated they listened to KSJN (and its rural outlets) expressed some displeasure over political bias. Most notably over Garrison Keillor's cheap shots on The Prairie Home Companion show.
A lot of MPR listeners enjoy the programming but find themselves wincing and turning to something else during the news.
Oh, please, give me a break! People here have been way too kind in their response to the ridiculous argument suggested here to "prove" public radio's "bias."
The fact of the matter is -- and yes, it's a FACT -- that there is absolutely nothing biased or inaccurate in the headline "1) GLOBAL WARMING DENIER BLOCKS FUNDS FOR ENVIRO RESEARCH."
This headline is FACTUALLY accurate in describing someone who absolutely insists, in the quote provided below it: "If I have to go on record and say global warming, I think it's a farce, I think it's a fallacy."
There's even more to the quote that only bolsters the factual conclusion that this guy DENIES OUTRIGHT that global warming exists. No, those aren't the words of a "skeptic." That direct quotation is the very definition of someone DENYING that global warming exists.
And yet someone can come along here and, because they superimposed their own perception of bias, cry wolf about something that ISN'T THERE. PERIOD. CASE CLOSED.
I defy anyone to argue that someone who flatly argues "I just don't buy it," is not DENYING the existence of something. That's not a matter of some headline writer's opinion (and it was a GOOD and completely ACCURATE headline)! But that's the kind of red herring conservatives are leveling a what is a factual and fair telling of the news by public radio. Be PROUD of that. For God's sake, don't apologize for telling the FACTS!!!
GregS - Do you think it's possible for a politico of either party to have criticisms of their own party, or is critical thinking all one has to do to be ejected from their party these days?
As a conservative, I am likewise concerned about unsavory elements on the right, and I am likewise concerned about anti-intellectualism because I think former VP candidates for our party shouldn't need bullet points on their hand to articulate conservative philosophy. Harsh, but true. As an intelligent conservative - I am concerned. Better kick me to the curb, eh?
Ideological purity tests don't win elections.
GregS - as a little more food for thought for you - William F. Buckley was the epitome of an intellectual conservative, and he had no problem kicking the fringe (Birchers) to the curb.
Today, Buckley would be demonized for suggesting there was a fringe and anti-intellectualism on the right.
This is, once again, the false dichotomy Mr. Collins discussed up thread. You see black and white here. Maybe Schiller is orange. (And I'm green.) There is a spectrum, and you seem to think it's a bad thing. Or at least you're holding it against Schiller.
"The fact of the matter is -- and yes, it's a FACT -- that there is absolutely nothing biased or inaccurate in the headline "1) GLOBAL WARMING DENIER BLOCKS FUNDS FOR ENVIRO RESEARCH." This headline is FACTUALLY accurate in describing someone who absolutely insists, in the quote provided below it: "If I have to go on record and say global warming, I think it's a farce, I think it's a fallacy. - No Apologies"
Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria is correct in calling the global warming hysteria a farce. This is not denial, it is speaking with precision of language.
The earth has warmed a whopping half a degree to eight tenths of a degree centigrade since the end of the Little Ice Age, much of that prior to the widespread use of fossil fuels and all of that within the parameters of natural variation. I agree with Ingebrigtsen - going into a panic over that is a farce.
But that is not the issue here. A tax-payer funded organization should not be equating people it disagrees with to Holocaust deniers.
Both MPR and you owe Mr. Ingebrigtsen an apology.
Good lord, any other boogeymen under your bed? Because you are really pushing it now, and it is YOU who owe listeners who value public radio's truth-telling a real apology.
Where do you get off LEAPING to the accusation that a "tax-payer funded organization" has equated "people it disagrees with to [sic] Holocaust deniers." Huh? Say WHAT? Where did THAT come from??? So from now on, anyone who "denies" anything should automatically be equated to "Holocaust deniers." How does that work? When did you co-opt the English language?
A denial is a denial is a denial. A denier is a denier is a denier. And Ingebrigtsen flat-out DENIES global warming, IN HIS OWN WORDS:
"I just don't buy it. And I think there's a lot of folks that don't."
Is that clear enough for you? The way the English language works, when you state publicly that you "don't buy" something, you're DENYING IT.
Stop the word games. To suggest that Ingebrigtsen's denial of global warming can even remotely be lumped in with the sick and bigoted creeps who deny the reality of the Holocaust is truly insulting. Why don't you go apologize to Holocaust survivors for cheapening their suffering?
>> Everybody step back. Take a breath. Drop the hyperbole. Dial back the drama.
No drama at all here, Bob.
The tactic of equating climate skeptics to Holocaust deniers is common knowledge, well documeted and proudly acknowledged on many environmental activist websites.
If anyone wants to test the theory here on MPR, simply enter the term "denier" into the search box on the upper right corner of the page.
Only two references to the term will appear - "Holocaust Deniers" and "Climate Deniers".
The association is obvious.
Again, a person who disagrees with the consensus, especially about a prediction, is dissident, not a denier.
I doubt Michael Olson intended to equate Mr. Ingebrigtsen's views on climate with Holocaust denial. I have met several members of the MPR staff and at least in my opinion it is not something they would do consciously.
I believe it is more a lack of sensitivity that is one of the hazards of being around people who think too much alike.
This hazard was my point in bringing up this issue and it speaks directly to the topic of this thread - the environment at NPR.
None the less, here are several references to liberal media pundits who explicitly link climate and Holocaust denial.
No change in political climate By Ellen Goodman February 9, 2007
(Sorry but the article is behind the Boston Globe paywall)
"I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.- Ellen Goodman"
Grist Magazine’s staff writer David Roberts called for the Nuremberg-style trials for the “bastards” who were members of what he termed the global warming “denial industry.”
Roberts wrote in the online publication on September 19, 2006, "When we've finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we're in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards -- some sort of climate Nuremberg.”
The use of Holocaust terminology has drawn the ire of Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. “The phrase ‘climate change denier’ is meant to be evocative of the phrase ‘holocaust denier,’” Pielke, Jr. wrote on October 9, 2006.
Institute of Economic Affairs member Richard D. North notes that outright denial by climate scientists of the major points of scientific consensus is rare, though scientists are known to dispute certain points. He says, "It is deeply pejorative to call someone a 'climate change denier'. This is because it is a phrase designedly reminiscent of the idea of Holocaust Denial
No, GregS, you'll still get no apologies here.
To test the hilarity of this supposedly bias-packed word of yours, I went to the biggest search engine in the world, Google. And I simply typed in the word "denier."
The first hit came back as a textile measurement. The second confirms my point: It's a Wikipedia page that, ironically, provides a "disambiguation" link to the word DENIAL, and also includes a link to a book titled "The Deniers," which I'll get to again directly. The third reference from Merriam-Webster is, as I previously suggested, straightforward: "One who denies [deniers of the truth]." Let's filter out the hit for "Denier Electric Co.," and go directly to the next Google reference, to the Amazon.com listing for the book, "The Deniers."
Hmmmm. Let's see how the author uses "deniers" in the context of global warming. Far from equating global climate deniers to Holocaust deniers, this book's title is actually a headlong embrace of the word:
The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**And those who are too fearful to do so
Hmmmm. Sounds to me like this author has decided to fashion "deniers" into a badge of honor for scientists who stood up against...blah, blah, blah. Which only goes to show what a futile exercise this disingenuous PC word game is. Give me a break. A journalist can't even use a common, straightforward word from the English language without conservatives seeing boogeymen in the shadows. It's just silly. And sad.
I say again, and again, and again: A factual journalist is ENTIRELY JUSTIFIED to describe Ingebrigtsen as a denier, because he flatly denies -- DENIES -- global warming, IN HIS OWN WORDS:
"I just don't buy it. And I think there's a lot of folks that don't."
What's sad is, this was your big evidence of this supposed liberal bias in public radio. Uh huh. Right. How very...RIGHT.
Go ahead, provide a credible English dictionary in which I somehow missed a change in the meaning of the word "denial," and I'll eat every page with a little ketchup sprinkled on. Until then, your request for an apology is hereby...denied.
Just to clarify:
I'm all for accuracy, and more than that, precision. If we were talking about a scientist who had doubts about global climate change, I ungrudgingly agree with you: The word would be skeptic. But, come on, the more precise word in Ingebrigtsen's case is denier.
>>> The thread is now being put on a heightened moderated status. All comments need to stay on topic. Real names must be used. Real e-mail addresses must be used. You may not see a comment until it's been approved.
Gregs, I'm confused by some of the labels you've used in the last couple days. Could you define "elitist' for us, and explain why you use it negatively? Also, you've used 'academic' negatively as well. What's wrong with higher education?
I have spent one of my paid days off from work to meet with state representatives at the capital on behalf of MPR. I have written many letters to my state representatives on behalf of MPR and NPR.
I stand by my assertion that public media is not supported, to a degree that it would be unable to continue programming without it, by conservative leaning organizations/people/parties.
Funny how the comments stop once people are required to use real names (once the masks come off).
@Tyler: "I stand by my assertion that public media is not supported, to a degree that it would be unable to continue programming without it, by conservative leaning organizations/people/parties."
I wouldn't argue with you about degrees. You are likely correct that the left supports public media more than the right. My problem with your remark was the broad brush you used.
But I also take issue with what I'm perceiving from you as a "we don't need conservatives" attitude - an attitude that is really ripping this country apart, imo. Is it really in CPB/NPR's best interest to scoff at the right or is it in their best interest to be inclusive?
We all need to work on being a little more open to diverse points of view, so please don't think I approve of this attitude from my side of the aisle. If you'll notice, I took issue with GregS too.
I agree with Mr. Collins very much about the false dichotomy in our American discourse these days. It's something Stephen Jay Gould discussed too in terms of religion and science. But improving political discourse means we all have to take a little more responsibility for our own debating habits. It doesn't mean things still can't get heated, but we (all of us) can at least try to not make it ugly.