NPR punishes editor after he exposed company’s left-wing bias in viral essay: ‘Lost America’s trust’

News & Politics

NPR is punishing senior editor Uri Berliner for exposing the outlet’s left-wing bias.

Last week, Berliner sent shockwaves through the media with an essay in the Free Press highlighting what he believes is NPR’s liberal transformation. According to Berliner, NPR has “lost America’s trust” because NPR has embraced a “progressive worldview.”

The essay was especially powerful because Berliner has worked at NPR for 25 years, and thus he has witnessed first-hand the outlet’s leftward drift.

As evidence to back his perspective, Berliner pointed to NPR’s coverage of the alleged Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy, its handling of the Hunter Biden laptop story, its coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, NPR’s internal focus on race and identity, and the lack of viewpoint diversity among NPR’s staff.

NPR executives initially pushed back on Berliner’s criticisms.

“I and my colleagues on the leadership team strongly disagree with Uri’s assessment of the quality of our journalism and the integrity of our newsroom processes,” said chief content officer Edith Chapin. “We believe that inclusion-among our staff, with our sourcing, and in our overall coverage-is critical to telling the nuanced stories of this country and our world.”

On Tuesday, NPR itself revealed that leadership had disciplined Berliner.

Despite his years of service with the company, Berliner was suspended without pay for five days beginning last Friday.

The violation? Berliner did not comply with company policy requiring staffers to receive prior approval before submitting work to outside publications. The formal rebuke said it was his “final warning” and threatened termination if he violates the policy again.

Important to this story is Berliner’s contention that he tried to address his concerns about NPR’s ideological problems with executives before writing about them publicly. Clearly, his concerns went unheard.

Still, Berliner loves the place where he works. That’s why he’s passionate about its integrity.

“I love NPR and feel it’s a national trust,” Berliner told NPR. “We have great journalists here. If they shed their opinions and did the great journalism they’re capable of, this would be a much more interesting and fulfilling organization for our listeners.”

In the wake of Berliner’s essay, NPR announced monthly reviews of its coverage. What will come of those reviews, if anything, remains to be seen.

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