Update: Folkenflik has responded on Twitter that his interview about Knell’s departure on Monday’s edition of All Things Considered (versus his story on Tuesday’s edition of Morning Edition) did mention the O’Keefe sting (though did not credit O’Keefe by name):
— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) August 20, 2013
National Public Radio’s David Folkenflik, reporting on the surprise departure of NPR CEO Gary Knell, recounted the scandals that preceded Knell’s arrival but failed to mention the most important one: a video sting by conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe that suggested NPR was willing to take funding from a Muslim Brotherhood organization and showed anti-conservative bias among senior executives.
That omission is particularly striking given that it was Folkelflik himself who broke the news in 2011 that O’Keefe’s sting was the immediate cause of the ouster of then-CEO Vivian Schiller (above, now with NBC). Instead, in his report on Knell’s departure, Folkenflik focuses on NPR’s dismissal of Juan Williams (now with Fox News) in 2010 over comments he made admitting that he felt fear when seeing Muslims on airplanes.
Belatedly, critics of O’Keefe and supporters of NPR criticized the video’s editing, which may have been the reason Folkenflik tried to leave it out. Still, rewriting the organization’s history to remove what was the proximate cause of Schiller’s departure and Knell’s arrival is deeply misleading.
Knell, whose vision for NPR was profiled just last month in the Wall Street Journal, will take over at the National Geographic Society.