(CNN) - Longtime public radio host Diane Rehm told CNN’s John King on Wednesday that congressional Republicans pushing to cut all federal funding for National Public Radio are really “looking at a way to silence public broadcasting.”
In an exclusive interview on “John King, USA,” Rehm told King that a recently released undercover video of an NPR executive had “given those who don’t believe in public funding for public broadcasting, more and more
In the hidden-camera footage, NPR’s senior vice president for fundraising Ron Schiller was recorded saying that his company would “better off without federal funding.”
“Initially this young man Schiller did not even investigate who these people were,” Rehm said, referring to the conservative activists who caught Schiller on a hidden camera. “[He] went out and said such things. If I had known you for 10 minutes John, would I have said those things to you? These were the views of one individual making foolish comments that are now reflecting on the entire organization.”
Schiller had announced before the undercover video surfaced that he would be leaving NPR for another position this spring, but said on Tuesday that his resignation was effective immediately in light of the damaging video.
But despite all the attention Schiller’s comments have received, Rehm expressed confidence that some funding for public radio would survive.
“I won’t say how much,” Rehm said. “I don’t think public broadcasting is going to be zeroed out because I don’t believe people across this country want to see public funding zeroed out. I think they may feel that like every other institution it needs to be reduced because of the deficit but not zeroed out.”
Rehm, who has hosted The Diane Rehm Show from WAMU in Washington for more than 25 years, also laid out the difficulties her station would face if it lost federal funding, saying that it would “have to find 8,000 more listeners who will not only contribute once, but continue to contribute year after year.”
“Now that’s Washington, that’s Baltimore,” Rehm said. “What happens across the country to smaller stations? Washington is not all of public radio. You got to think about what’s going to happen to the rest of the system.”