An NPR executive was caught on camera lambasting the Tea Party as "seriously racist" and claiming that liberals might be, as a whole, more educated than conservatives.
The comments from Ron Schiller, a senior executive at NPR and president of the NPR Foundation, were made during a meeting with two people posing as members of a fictitious Muslim organization. The two activists, who recorded the February meeting on hidden camera, were trying to convince NPR executives of accepting a $5 million donation -- money NPR apparently refused.
Schiller has since announced he is leaving NPR to join the Aspen Institute in Colorado, though NPR said there is "no connection" between the video of his comments and his departure.
During the secretly recorded meeting, Schiller lamented how the Republican Party had been "hijacked" by the Tea Party.
"The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved with people's personal lives," he said.
Schiller described that movement as "white, middle America, gun-toting," and added: "They're seriously racist people."
Schiller went on to lament what he called an "anti-intellectual" component of the Republican Party.
"Liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives," he said.
After the video was released, NPR put out a statement condemning the comments, while noting that Schiller is leaving the company.
"We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for," the statement said.
NPR also said the "fraudulent organization" repeatedly tried to get the company to accept a $5 million check, "which we repeatedly refused to accept."
The video was released by James O'Keefe, the conservative activist best known for producing undercover videos that showed employees with the community advocacy group ACORN helping a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute.
O'Keefe and three other conservative activists were later charged with misdemeanors for allegedly trying to tamper with phones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in Louisiana.
The Tea Party Patriots slammed NPR for the Schiller comments Tuesday, calling on Congress to de-fund the radio network in light of the remarks.
"Mr. Schiller's latest comments provoke a larger question -- how long will we as a nation be willing to tolerate the arrogance of the self-appointed ruling elite?" Tea Party Patriots coordinator Jenny Beth Martin said in a statement.
NPR CEO Vivian Schiller, who is not related to Ron Schiller, delivered a speech Monday in which she rejected claims of bias at NPR.