What Did Ellen Weiss Do Wrong?

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Will Saletan asks the important question about NPR's opaque and defensive behavior in the Juan Williams/Ellen Weiss debacle:

According to NPR board chairman Dave Edwards, as paraphrased in today's Washington Post, the board "played no role in the departure of Ms. Weiss," and "personnel decisions were up to" NPR CEO Vivian Schiller. Schiller was clearly involved in the Williams incident as well. As the New York Times points out, Weiss "said that she had not been the only participant in the decision." Yet for unexplained reasons, Schiller wasn't pushed out. When the Post contacted her about Weiss, Schiller "declined to comment on the resignation. She called it a private matter." In a statement to NPR employees, Schiller refused to elaborate on the board's miserably vague statement about its review of the Williams case. She wrote: "There is no written 'report' aside from this statement, which summarizes the overall outcome of the Weil review. This is typical for this kind of outside review."

That's it. That's all NPR is saying about Weiss. A vague, implicit acknowledgment that Williams was fired without clear application of consistent rules--and, simultaneous with that acknowledgment, the ouster of Weiss without clear application of consistent rules.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/what-did-ellen-weiss-do-wrong/69161/