By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

NPR’s top editor strikes back at internal critic over charges of left-wing bias

NPR editor-in-chief Edith Chapin has responded to Uri Berliner’s long piece in The Free Press lamenting what he regards as the network’s move to the progressive left. New York Times media reporter Ben Mullin obtained a memo she sent to the staff and broke the story old-school — on Twitter/X. The top line:

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. We’re proud to stand behind the exceptional work that our desks and shows to do to cover a wide range of challenging stories. We believe that inclusion — among our staff, with our sourcing, and in our overall coverage — is critical to telling the nuanced stories of our country and our world.


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Fish in a barrel: Berliner’s case against NPR is based on false and out-of-context facts


  1. Kevin Drum’s take:
    “Berliner has fallen prey to a sort of conventional centrist wisdom that requires liberal reporters to bend over backward in order to be “fair” to right-wing inventions. But at least in these three cases, conservatives don’t have a leg to stand on. Berliner is accusing NPR of nothing more than exercising pretty good editorial judgment.”

    • Dan Kennedy

      Berliner is on to something with the lab-leak theory — too quickly dismissed for political reasons and never fully debunked. The other two — yes, he is way, way off.

      • Kevin has done a fair amount of analysis on the lab leak theory and eventually concluded there’s not much there.

        • Dan Kennedy

          That’s not the same as dismissing it out of hand in the early weeks of the pandemic. And I think that was a knee-jerk response to Trump’s blaming it all on China.

          • George F. Snell III

            When one side lies constantly— and often ridiculously, it is difficult to trust what they say or allege. Trump and his team were not credible sources during the pandemic.

    • David F. Pierre, Jr.

      Kevin Drum is just flat-out wrong.

      The leftists in the media screamed for a full four years that Trump was an “illegitimate President” because of “Russian collusion.” What garbage. Both the Mueller and Durham reports concluded decisively that any “contacts” or “links” to any “Russians” were minimal, immaterial, and had zero effect on anything. None. Nada. Did Drum or anyone at NPR even *read* the Durham report? I doubt it.

      As soon as it was a story, contents to Hunter’s laptop were accessible to anyone who *wanted* to see what it was about and took the time. And Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said on October 19, 2020 – about two weeks before the election- that the laptop was “not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.” But just as Berliner said, NPR and other Democrat allies deliberately chose to ignore the story in order that it not damage Biden, (just like they did with the sexual assault allegations by Tara Reade, who had contemporaneous corroboration to her claims, by the way). Listeners of NPR are still completely in the dark to the breadth of corruption exposed on Hunter’s laptop with the emails, business records, text messages, voicemail messages, and more it contained. (And if those seedy videos with hookers were of, let’s say, Donald Trump, Jr., the footage would have been shown on a 24-hour loop without commercials on MSNBC.)

      I could go on and on, but as a daily listener of NPR, Berliner was 100% spot on.

      Thank you.

  2. Steve Jones-D'Agostino

    For me, NPR’s most bothersome and concerning flaw is allowing its talk-show hosts to question their quests, get non-answers, and ask no follow-up questions when they are, in my opinion, necessary and important to pose. It seems like they’re just reading from a list of stock questions. If so, it’d be much less expensive – and much more infotaining- for NPR to hire the likes of Big Bird and Elmo to host these now-banal and -boring shows.

  3. Kilburn Child

    From the short post I read, your leadership will not enhance the journalistic integrity of NPR. DEI is a complete red herring. If you are simply going to tell an empathetic story, label it as an opinion piece (which most readers will find as overkill). For news, what you need is objective (impartial) assessment of the issues. There is no way to attain that when employees know (or believe) they are hired as part of a progressive DEI initiative.

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