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NPR Senior Editor Says Outlet Has Lost Public Trust

Uri Berliner: 'America’s infestation with systemic racism was declared loud and clear: it was a given'

NPR Senior Editor Says Outlet Has Lost Public Trust

A 25-year NPR veteran editor said he believes the outlet has "lost its way" after embracing an overtly liberal-leaning view.

Senior Business Editor Uri Berliner described his experience with NPR in a candid op-ed published by The Free Press.

The senior business editor said "an open-minded, curious culture prevailed" throughout NPR early in his career, though noted the outlet's direction didn't reflect on America in recent years. According to Berliner, the outlet has been experiencing a lack of "viewpoint diversity."

“It’s frictionless — one story after another about instances of supposed racism, transphobia, signs of the climate apocalypse, Israel doing something bad, and the dire threat of Republican policies,” Berliner wrote, adding each story appeared to be similarly framed.

Following the controversial death of George Floyd in 2020, NPR's top network executives pushed for the outlet to transition their messaging, according to Berliner.

“America’s infestation with systemic racism was declared loud and clear: it was a given," he wrote. “In a document called NPR Transgender Coverage Guidance—disseminated by news management—we’re asked to avoid the term biological sex. (The editorial guidance was prepared with the help of a former staffer of the National Center for Transgender Equality)."

“The mindset animates bizarre stories—on how The Beatles and bird names are racially problematic, and others that are alarmingly divisive," Berliner wrote of NPR's stories after their transition highlighting progressive liberal topics. "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."

Berliner said in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict last October, the outlet highlighted coverage of the military conflict "through the 'intersectional' lens that has jumped from the faculty lounge to newsrooms."

“That’s meant highlighting the suffering of Palestinians at almost every turn while downplaying the atrocities of October 7, overlooking how Hamas intentionally puts Palestinian civilians in peril, and giving little weight to the explosion of antisemitic hate around the world," he wrote.

Berliner commented on the outlet's journalistic integrity after former President Donald Trump's alleged connection with Russia was proved false after 2018's release of the Mueller report found no credible evidence of collusion. "NPR's coverage was notably sparse. Russiagate quietly faded from our programming," he continued. "It is one thing to swing and miss on a major story. ... It's bad to blow a big story."

"What began as tough, straightforward coverage of a belligerent, truth-impaired president veered toward efforts to damage or topple Trump’s presidency," Berliner wrote.

The NPR senior editor also said the outlet "turned a blind eye" during the 2020 presidential election after The New York Post broke the Hunter Biden laptop story, which Berliner argued was newsworthy.

"Its contents revealed his connection to the corrupt world of multimillion-dollar influence peddling and its possible implications for his father," Berliner wrote.

Despite his frustrations with the outlet, Berliner did not believe defunding NPR was the answer to problems plaguing the network.

"Defunding, as a rebuke from Congress, wouldn’t change the journalism at NPR. That needs to come from within," he concluded.

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