STING: The Right jabs pubradio with NPR fundraiser’s words

Neither Ron Schiller nor Betsy Liley had eaten before at Café Milano, the upscale see-and-be-seen restaurant in Georgetown, before Feb. 22, when they stepped into an elaborate trap that had been set for them there. The two NPR fundraisers didn’t get the $5 million donation that was discussed by their lunch partners, and the president of NPR didn’t pose for a photo accepting a phony check, but those were the better results of the lunch meeting. They couldn’t have expected that a hidden-camera recording of their talk with two prospective donors would cost Schiller his next job, put Liley on administrative leave, trigger the ouster of NPR’s president and severely undercut support for federal aid to public broadcasting. Two weeks later, March 8, the consequences began tumbling into sight as right-wing activist James O’Keefe’s video of their lunch meeting spread virally on the Web.