Paul  Kengor

“The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian,” said NPR’s Ron Schiller to two undercover reporters. “I wouldn’t even call it Christian; it’s this weird evangelical kind of [movement].”

Not knowing he was being videoed, Schiller continued: “The current Republican Party is not really the Republican Party, it’s been hijacked by this group; that is, not just Islamo-phobic but really xenophobic. I mean, basically, they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-American, gun toting—I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.” (Click here for transcript and here for video.)

Schiller is being heavily criticized for these comments, as is NPR and elite liberal thinking in general. Schiller, NPR Foundation president and vice president for development (until these comments), is the Left’s latest exhibit in smearing the Tea Party movement as bigots, racists, fascists, Hitler-ites, followers of Attila the Hun, Torquemada, Genghis Khan, or whatever other handy demon.

Yet, what’s telling about Schiller’s comments is their lack of factual basis, an even greater sin from a man whose business, and erstwhile employer, is the reporting of facts. His comments are a PR problem for NPR, furthering the perception that NPR is not about unbiased reporting but primarily about opinion—a leftist opinion camouflaged as objective news.

As evidence for my perspective, I’d like to share some statistical information on the Tea Party movement. This information was widely published and is easily available to anyone, least of all a major news organization like NPR.

In March 2010, Gallup did a comprehensive survey of the Tea Party (click here). Gallup is the most respected polling firm on the planet, and not conservative. The headline Gallup chose to highlight its study speaks for itself, “Tea Partiers Are Fairly Mainstream in Their Demographics.”

That study found that 49 percent of “Tea Party identifiers” are Republicans while 43 percent are independents and 8 percent are Democrats. The majority are not Republicans.