Triggered by Berliner op-ed, NPR worried bosses might ponder it

Triggered by Berliner op-ed, NPR worried bosses might ponder it

Triggered by Berliner op-ed, NPR worried bosses might ponder it

Nobody was surprised when NPR editor Uri Berliner pulled back the curtain to describe left-wing bias in its all-Democrat newsroom, but what has since been revealed is a bullying newsroom demanding to be coddled and consoled for his betrayal.

Berliner, a 25-year veteran at NPR, quit in disgust this week after NPR’s executives hit him with a five-day suspension. His unforgiveable crime was criticizing his employer in an April 9 op-ed, published by The Free Press website, that all but begged NPR to rethink its priorities and its mission. 

NPR CEO skeptical of truth, white males, and capitalism 

By Steve Jordahl, AFN.net

Now that NPR is under fresh scrutiny thanks to ex-editor Uri Berliner, CEO Katherine Maher is getting noticed for her history of making bizarre, contradictory, and Marxist-themed comments.

Maher became NPR’s top boss in January after leading Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit behind Wikipedia. Before leading the foundation, she worked at the World Bank and the National Democratic Institute, according to her NPR biography.

In 2022, when she was leading Wikipedia, Maher led a TED Talk in which she bragged Wikipedia was learning to deal with the hot-button issues of politics and religion by not obsessing over what is true.

“Our reverence for the truth,” she opined from the stage, “might be a distraction that's getting in the way of finding common ground and getting things done.”

Maher, Katherine Maher

Despite that post-modern view about truth, Maher is also on video criticizing Wikipedia’s open-source method of fact gathering. That method of informing the public, she said, represented an outdated “white male, Westernized construct” that was unfair to some cultures that don’t ascribe to written traditions.

Maher’s comments were uncovered by conservative activist Christopher Rufo, who posted the one-minute clip on X, where he was sarcastically asked if he could translate Maher’s words for normal people.

“White men succeed in a ‘free and open’ system,” Rufo wrote, “so she wants to change that system because white men are bad.”

Farther back, in a 2019 tweet, Maher wrote that she is "so done with late-stage capitalism," an obvious Marxist reference. Despite her distaste for capitalism, Maher was earning nearly $800,000 a year at Wikipedia two years later.   

“I’ve Been at NPR for 25 years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust,” reads the headline of the 3,500-word essay that reads like a confessed criminal who can no longer stomach a life of crime.

In the case of NPR, Berliner said the crime is journalism malpractice on Russia collusion, Hunter Biden’s laptop, and the origin of the COVID-19 virus. Even with NPR's "liberal bent" on news, the coverage of those stories left the editor disgusted over his colleagues lack of self-respect for their jobs as journalists. 

"Today," Berliner wrote, "those who listen to NPR or read its coverage online find something different: the distilled worldview of a very small segment of the U.S. population."  

Nicholas Fondacaro, of media watchdog Media Research Center, says traditional liberals like Berliner are watching their newsrooms get invaded by a new army of political activists. 

Berliner, Uri Berliner

“The younger, more radical members of the journalist class,” Fondacaro says, “that is coming up at a journalism school, where they're being taught to be more activist.”

Berliner, in fact, describes a political climate in the newsroom that was obsessed with race and racism after the death of George Floyd in 2020.

Reacting to Floyd's death, a company-wide message from former CEO John Lansing called on the newsroom to be “agents of change,” Berliner recalled. That pledge eventually turned into mandatory discussions about “white privilege” and DEI employee training about unconscious bias.

 A tracking system was started to log the race, gender, and ethnicity of people who are interviewed.

Affinity groups were started for employees who are women; Muslim; Latinx; marginalized intersex people of color; black; Southwest Asians and North Africans; LGBTQ; gender expansive; and Jewish, according to the essay. 

Letter demands 'true leadership' from CEO

From that politically-charged environment, 50 people in the NPR newsroom have now sent a demand letter about “editorial direction” to the new CEO, Katherine Maher.

The letter says the newsroom is concerned Berliner’s essay created an “immediate reaction” from NPR leadership, such as a new content review board, which would jeopardize “long-standing efforts” such as a DEI accountability committee and the NPR affinity groups.

The letter goes on to offer a "few suggestions" to Maher, such as supporting the people "undermined" by Berliner's essay.

The letter concludes with a couple of not-so-subtle threats. Without "true leadership" from Maher, "resentment and discontent are festering among your staff," the letter states. By remaining silent, it alleges, Maher is legitimizing Berliner's essay.