No Bias Here - NPR Has Zero Republicans, 87 Democrats On Editorial Staff

News Image By Dan Hart/Washington Stand April 19, 2024
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In a widely publicized op-ed published Tuesday in The Free Press, a senior editor at National Public Radio (NPR) offered a heavy critique of his employer as he revealed that, despite the news organization's claim that diversity is its "North Star," its D.C. headquarters has zero Republicans and 87 Democrats among its editorial staff.

In his lengthy and often personal piece, Uri Berliner, a senior business editor and reporter at NPR, described how over the last 15 years, the organization has drifted relentlessly leftward, and has now become "the distilled worldview of a very small segment of the U.S. population." 

He illustrated this change by highlighting NPR's shifting audience. In 2011, 26% of listeners said they were conservative, 23% in the middle, and 37% liberal. But by 2023, only 11% said they were conservative, with the share of liberals almost doubling to 67% and those in the middle shrinking to 21%.

Berliner went on to describe how during most of his 25 years at NPR, there was an understood "liberal bent," but at the same time "an open-minded, curious culture prevailed. We were nerdy, but not knee-jerk, activist, or scolding." But now, he writes, "an open-minded spirit no longer exists within NPR, and now, predictably, we don't have an audience that reflects America."

Berliner provided numerous examples of why only three in 10 Americans surveyed in a recent Harris poll characterized NPR as "trustworthy." After a steady drumbeat of stories claiming "collusion" between former President Donald Trump and Russia to secure his election, including 25 interviews on the topic with former House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), NPR did not acknowledge any wrongdoing after the Mueller report found no credible evidence of collusion.

The NPR senior editor pointed to further examples, including the organization's intentional decision to ignore the Hunter Biden laptop story, the dismissal of strong evidence supporting a lab leak of the COVID-19 virus in Wuhan, China, and an apparent obsession with race: "The mindset animates bizarre stories -- on how The Beatles and bird names are racially problematic, and others that are alarmingly divisive; justifying looting, with claims that fears about crime are racist; and suggesting that Asian Americans who oppose affirmative action have been manipulated by white conservatives."

As Berliner observes, a preoccupation with race at NPR began after George Floyd's killing in 2020. This quickly morphed into "diversity" being declared the organization's overriding mission and "North Star." But in an ironic twist, Berliner writes that this led to "the most damaging development at NPR: the absence of viewpoint diversity." On its webpage dedicated to "Our Commitment To Diversity," NPR dutifully lists "political persuasion" as part of the "big tent" of diversity.

However, when Berliner recounted pointing out to his colleagues during an all-staff editorial meeting that he "found 87 registered Democrats working in editorial positions and zero Republicans" at NPR's D.C. newsroom, "it was met with profound indifference. I got a few messages from surprised, curious colleagues. But the messages were of the 'oh wow, that's weird' variety, as if the lopsided tally was a random anomaly rather than a critical failure of our diversity North Star."

The clear ideological leftward shift of NPR has vexed observers and lawmakers for years, who point out that an organization claiming to be "an independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public" that relies on public funding for roughly 32% of its budget should reflect the wide variety of viewpoints held by taxpaying Americans.

"I don't think it's a shock to anyone that they've purged their newsrooms of anyone with a dissenting viewpoint," Jared Bridges, editor-in-chief of The Washington Stand, told TWS. "It's on display every day in the way they cover the news. We have the First Amendment, so NPR has the freedom to organize itself that way. 

What's disingenuous is that they still hold themselves out to be objective. And that posture helps them get taxpayer dollars -- taken from people who have different viewpoints -- to proliferate their views. NPR should have all the freedom it needs to be a one-sided mouthpiece. But they should own it, and they shouldn't take money from the taxpayer to do it."

Originally published at The Washington Stand

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