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NPR punishes veteran editor who blew whistle on liberal bias at organization

via FOX

NPR suspended veteran editor Uri Berliner for five days without pay after he published an essay criticizing NPR’s lack of ideological diversity and perceived liberal bias.

Berliner wrote that NPR staffers did not want to help Trump, coverage downplayed issues like Hunter Biden’s laptop and the COVID lab leak theory, and that registration records showed a large disparity between Democratic and Republican staffers.

His criticisms angered colleagues and led to internal reviews of coverage.

“It angered many of his colleagues, led NPR leaders to announce monthly internal reviews of the network’s coverage, and gave fresh ammunition to conservative and partisan Republican critics of NPR, including former President Donald Trump,” NPR reporter David Folkenflik wrote.

Berliner also said NPR’s new CEO Katherine Maher was not the right leader based on her past social media posts supporting Democrats.

NPR said Berliner was suspended for publishing the essay without approval, as required, calling it a final warning before firing.

“We’re looking for a leader right now who’s going to be unifying and bring more people into the tent and have a broader perspective on, sort of, what America is all about,” Berliner said to Folkenflik. “And this seems to be the opposite of that.”

Berliner tried “repeatedly to make his concerns over NPR’s coverage known to news leaders and to Maher’s predecessor as chief executive before publishing his essay,” Folkenflik said.

“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,” Berliner said.

“In presenting Berliner’s suspension Thursday afternoon, the organization told the editor he had failed to secure its approval for outside work for other news outlets, as is required of NPR journalists. It called the letter a ‘final warning,’ saying Berliner would be fired if he violated NPR’s policy again. Berliner is a dues-paying member of NPR’s newsroom union but says he is not appealing the punishment,” Folkenflik wrote.

A former NPR executive said it would be difficult for Berliner to remain at NPR given the backlash.

NPR defended its journalism and denied Berliner’s claims of bias.

“We’re proud to stand behind the exceptional work that our desks and shows 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 this country and our world,” an NPR spokesperson wrote.

“Let’s not forget that the reason we remain one of the most trusted news organizations in the country is that we respect people’s ability to form their own judgments,” she added.

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