The fallout from independent journalist James O'Keefe's Project Veritas investigation has been fast and furious. NPR is obviously in major damage control mode and throwing liabilities that look an awful lot like high-powered executives overboard just as fast as they appear on video and audio. All good and proper, but there's this small detail that like a pebble in one's shoe is increasingly impossible to ignore. Twice now NPR has made the declarative statement that they rejected the phony $5 million dollar donation offered by an organization posing as a Muslim Brotherhood front group. But twice now seemingly contradictory information has also been released by NPR puts those statements into question.
The first statement
was release the same day the first investigative video was released, Tuesday, March 8th:
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.
refused. Strong words.
However, a second statement
released later that same day appeared to contradict the first:
NPR’s David Folkenflik reports that there were clear signs that the Muslim Education Action Center Trust was not a long-standing organization ...
CEO Vivian Schiller tells David that NPR became aware of those peculiarities, and that NPR was vetting the organization. And he has obtained e-mails (not from an official NPR source, but which have been verified by NPR) showing that the network last week asked the fictitious Ibrahim Kasaam for, among other things, verification that the Muslim Education Action Center was qualified as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It was not, of course.
These seemingly dueling positions were enough of a red flag to prompt my colleague Larry O'Connor to raise the question
of how these statements might be reconciled. And today, it looks as though this same scenario's repeated itself.
In response to a second Project Veritas investigative report
, we have once again been told by NPR that NPR "rejected" the $5 million dollar gift and yet, once again, an apparent contradiction's arisen with the subsequent release of internal NPR emails exchanged between NPR's then-CEO and President Vivian Schiller and NPR Senior Director of Institutional Giving Betsy Liley:
Today's "rejection" statement was made by NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm, and said in part
"Because of the failure to provide the information required, NPR rejected the gift."
But the internal NPR emails also released today (you can read them here
) seem to tell a completely different story, the story of NPR executives and a phony Muslim Brotherhood front group in close communication as they attempt to work out the tax and disclosure issues necessary to meet the guidelines that would allow for NPR to accept
In her statement today, Rehm says outright "NPR rejected the gift." Well, unless she means in someone's heart, "rejecting" is an action not an intention. How, when, and where did this rejection take place? Was it over the phone? If so, who made the call and to whom? Was it via email or letter? If so, why not release a copy?
The only reason it's a cliché is because it's so true. In matters such as these, the cover up is always worse than the crime. In the storm of the first day of the story breaking, it makes sense that confusion might have caused the release of some misinformation. But now that we've been told twice that the gift was rejected -- told twice and yet soon afterwards seemingly contradictory information was released -- now is the time for NPR to clear up these contradictions once and for all.
But the most perplexing contradiction lies in what's called the tick-tock -- the breakdown of when things happened. If you look at the internal NPR emails, as recently as Saturday March, 5th, Vivian Schiller was doing just the opposite of "rejecting" this donation, she was still trying to make it work. That's just three days before Project Veritas released the first video on March the 8th.
So sometime between Saturday evening and Tuesday morning there were "repeated" rejections?
Either the statements regarding the rejection of the $5 million gift are incorrect or this gift was rejected and the information and documentation of that action can be released.
This pebble's not going to go away all by itself.