Early Reactions In The Mediasphere To The NPR Editor’s Essay Accusing The Network Of Liberal Bias

A scathing op-ed from NPR veteran and current senior business editor Uri Berliner published in The Free Press on Tuesday has intensified debates over whether the publicly funded news organization has adopted a partisan lean in recent years. 

In the piece, Berliner details a culture shift at the organization, in which “An open-minded spirit no longer exists within NPR, and now, predictably, we don’t have an audience that reflects America.”

Berliner argued that NPR is plagued with an “absence of viewpoint diversity,” which he considers to be a result of leadership’s emphasis on promoting diversity and inclusion on the basis of race and sexual orientation. He also claims that he found “87 registered Democrats working in editorial positions and zero Republicans.”

NPR editor-in-chief Edith Chapin defended the organization in response to the piece, saying she the leadership team “strongly disagree with Uri’s assessment of the quality of our journalism.”

While Chapin backed the “exceptional work that our desks and shows do to cover a wide range of challenging stories,” she added that “None of our work is above scrutiny or critique. We must have vigorous discussions in the newsroom about how we serve the public as a whole.”

According to NPR media reporter David Folkenflik, several journalists inside the organization question how they can proceed with Berliner as a colleague, with concerns about whether he can be a trusted member of NPR in the aftermath of the op-ed. Additionally, Berliner did not seek NPR’s approval to publish the piece, nor did he seek comment from the organization ahead of time; though he does say in his piece that he sought to raise his concerns with leadership on several occasions.

Meanwhile, outside of the organization, debates regarding the content of Berliner’s piece have sprouted up across social media, with many coming to the defense of the storied NPR institution. 

Some argued that the shift that occurred in political coverage across the media industry was forced on institutions due to the changing nature of the Republican Party since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. 

Some came to Berliner’s defense, including former NPR vice president for news Jeffrey Dvorkin who vouched for the changes to the organization. 

the National Public Radio (NPR) headquarters

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