Friday, March 11, 2011

That's just survival

Megan McArdle says:
What Ron Schiller said wasn't good for NPR's bottom line. Whether or not it's permissible to believe that a large segment of the country are racist troglodytes, when someone expresses that view during the performance of his official duties, then you can see how said racist troglodytes might not want to give that organization any more of their money--whether that's as customers, donors, or taxpayers. The normal organizational imperative is to fire that person, and this doesn't strike me as outrageous. That's how organizations communicate an important message in situations like this: this person's views are not ours, and we reject them.

The real problem is a quirk of timing: the video came out just as Schiller had left NPR for the Aspen Institute. Thus, NPR couldn't fire him. So they had to look for someone else to fire, and unfortunately, that was Vivian Schiller, the CEO, whose only crime was being in charge of the organization when this happened.

I think the scapegoating is problematic (though given the circumstances, I'm not sure I'd have done differently--many NPR affiliates feel that they're very much in danger of extinction). But I don't think it's a problem that companies fire people for expressing nasty views that can threaten their bottom line. That's just survival--and I think that NPR is too valuable to lose.
Funny how neutrality doesn't come up at times like this. All of a sudden, Sarah Palin doesn't seem to be so bad.

Photo link here.

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