The plot thickens

In response to James O’Keefe’s sting video in which two journalists posing as Islamic radicals met with two NPR executives, NPR released this statement:

The fraudulent organization represented in this video repeatedly pressed us to accept a $5 million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept. We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for. Mr. Schiller announced last week that he is leaving NPR for another job.

The statement was a little bit strange, in that the video focused primarily on Ron Schiller’s ignorant and intolerant views. But, sure, it’s good they refused the money.

Except now it appears that might not be true. In a second video, O’Keefe reveals that Betsy Liley, the other NPR executive at the first meeting, held a telephone conversation with one of the men in which she discussed the prospect of keeping their donation anonymous. She later emailed him to inform him that a draft agreement was being prepared by their legal counsel.

At what point NPR started refusing the contribution, if they ever did at all, is not yet clear.

UPDATE: NPR has released emails showing that it said it could not accept the money unless MEAC (the fake organization) could show it was a 501(c)(3) organization. That’s a long way from what NPR seemed to imply (that NPR wasn’t going to take money from Islamic radicals), but it is consistent with what they literally said.

Also, NPR says that — contrary to what Betsy Liley said in the new video — it will not hide donations from the IRS, and they have placed Liley on administrative leave pending an investigation. How NPR’s Senior Director of Institutional Giving could be so confused about NPR’s policy and the law is still not clear.

(Previous post.)

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