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10/24/10

NPR CEO Was Soviet Union 'Fixer'

She told the world that Juan Williams should see a psychiatrist and fired him for feeling nervous when Muslims fly in planes in full Muslim dress. Turns out tax-funded National Public Radio might have a communist CEO. The American Spectator first describes media reports under Vivian Schiller that are sympathetic to Communist Russia:

How about a film project called Portrait of the Soviet Union?

It was lovely. A glowing documentary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics produced in documentary film format by a big Soviet Union fan -- Ted Turner.

The 1988 film was also made into a book of the same name, with Fitzroy MacLean, a onetime British MP listed as the author. By 1988 MacLean was the "chief consultant" for Turner Broadcasting

Turns out Schiller lived in communist Russia, made videos about it, and worked there as a 'fixer' before working for CNN and New York Times. She had gotten her degree in Russian and Soviet Studies from Cornell:

Ms. Schiller, it seems, had a fascination with the Russian language. Which led her to the Soviet Union after college, which led in turn to a job as a tour guide, which led to work on the documentary version of Turner's Portrait of the Soviet Union.

Schiller was not a creative force on the film, she was simply using her Russian skills to help the Turner people get around the country. But it is interesting that a career that has blossomed in the hallowed halls of the notoriously intolerant American left-wing media began in one of the most infamously intolerant civilizations on earth -- where Schiller was hired to work on what became a stunningly rose-colored look at the Communist tyranny.

The New York Times slammed the film for throwing the real Soviet lifestyle down memory hole, for falsely portraying "the greatest experiment in social engineering the world has ever seen" mere years before its collapse. But that didn't stop the New York Times from eventually hiring the Schiller as Senior Vice President and General Manager of NYTimes.com. More...

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