NPR Suspends Editor Who Accused Network Of Bias, Issues ‘Final Warning’
The National Public Radio (NPR) headquarters in Washington, DC, US, on Saturday, April 15, 2023. NPR said this week it will no longer publish fresh content to its 52 official Twitter feeds after Twitter's decision to label the news outlet "state-affiliated media."
(Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

National Public Radio (NPR) has suspended Senior Business Editor Uri Berliner after he publicly accused the network of espousing left-wing bias with an essay that began a media firestorm.

Last week, Berliner received a letter that informed him of a five-day suspension without pay beginning Friday, according to a report by NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik.

NPR told Berliner he failed to follow the network’s rules and get approval for outside work for other news outlets after his essay for The Free Press and follow-up interviews.

Berliner was also accused of publicly releasing proprietary information about audience demographics that NPR considered confidential, per the report.

The letter, which was called a “final warning,” said Berliner would be fired for another policy violation.

Berliner, a dues-paying member of NPR’s newsroom union, told Folkenflik that he would not appeal the punishment.

He claimed the figures discussed in his essay “were essentially marketing material. If they had been really good, they probably would have distributed them and sent them out to the world.”

Berliner conceded that he did not get permission to speak with Folkenflik, but said he thought it would be “extraordinary” if he were fired for speaking to an NPR journalist.

The Free Press published the essay on Tuesday last week in which Berliner argued NPR “lost America’s trust” with its increasingly liberal bent.

His critique touched on topics related to former President Donald Trump, NPR’s COVID coverage, reporting on transgender issues, audience figures, the network’s own level of diversity, and more.

Berliner additionally wrote about how he tried to make some of his concerns known internally. He said no one ever “trashed” him, but he was repeatedly brushed off and nothing changed.

In the public backlash that followed the essay, Trump demanded that NPR’s funding be cut. Despite his critique, Berliner said “defunding” was not the way to address the “missteps” he outlined.

NPR’s chief executive of less than a month, Katherine Maher, lashed out at the “deeply simplistic” and “profoundly disrespectful, hurtful, and demeaning” essay without mentioning Berliner’s name.

After Berliner’s essay was published, old tweets from Maher resurfaced that displayed her personal views in favor of liberal causes, fueling more criticism, particularly from the Right.

Maher called Trump a “racist” in a 2018 post that has since been deleted and shared a photo of herself wearing a hat touting President Joe Biden’s campaign in November of 2020.

Berliner said the posts indicate Maher is the “opposite” of the kind of leader NPR needs to be “unifying and bring more people into the tent and have a broader perspective on, sort of, what America is all about.”

Maher released a statement that said “everyone is entitled to free speech as a private citizen” in America.


“What matters is NPR’s work and my commitment as its CEO: public service, editorial independence, and the mission to serve all of the American public,” she added. “NPR is independent, beholden to no party, and without commercial interests.”

The report noted that NPR emphasized that “the CEO is not involved in editorial decisions.”

Folkenflik wrote that some in the newsroom acknowledge Berliner’s critique as valid, while others say they are no longer willing to work with him.

The report said NPR’s chief news executive, Edith Chapin, announced late Monday that Executive Editor Eva Rodriguez would lead monthly coverage review meetings.

Berliner reportedly said he welcomed the announcement but would reserve judgment until those meetings happen.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  NPR Suspends Editor Who Accused Network Of Bias, Issues ‘Final Warning’