NPR and the War on Truth. Part 2

Ann Carriage
5 min readMay 13, 2024

In an eye grabbing piece a former NPR journalist cum whistle-blower has served up a scoop. It walks a fine line that is both fascinating and compelling at the same time

The cherry on the top is that it’s like reading a diary; there is this illicit feel to it. The journo gives those of us on the outside a birds-eye view looking in. This works for me.

Uri Berliner signed on with National Public Radio as a journalist all on twenty seven years ago now. He no longer works there if it needs to be said.

He describes the stereotypical NPR listener like this; an EV driver and a Wordle-playing, tote bag-carrying coastal elite. He says while it does not describe him to a tee it is not far off. He keeps us in suspense though and won’t tell us which part applies to him.

What he does in its place is to offer us some personal details.

He was educated at Sarah Lawrence and raised by a lesbian peace activist mother. He tells us that he drives a Subaru and his listening habits are similar to people who live in Berkeley. That is Berkeley in Cali if you don’t know.

With all that he admits that he filled the NPR mould.

At the time of his employ he was a senior editor on the business desk in the heart of the newsroom.

While it is true that NPR always had a liberal bent the culture of the place was open-minded and curious.

We were nerdy yes; just not like the knee-jerks, the activists or the scolds.

The newsroom has changed in recent years to mirror the distilled views of a very small part of the US population.

He is adamant that it was not always this way.

Back in 2011 he first noticed the clues the audience was about to tilt left.

This was in spite of the 26% of listeners who described themselves as conservative, 23 % as middle of the road and 37% as liberal.

By last year it was a different picture. Only 11% identified as conservative, 21 % as middle of the road and 67% as very liberal; or as somewhat liberal whatever that was supposed to mean. May be post liberal?

It became clear the moderates and classical liberals were the ones who had jumped ship.

Like Berliner says if NPR wanted to cater to the very liberal market; then fine. Admit it and be done with but this is not how NPR presents itself.

Yet they still get to call themselves National Public Radio while they represent only one side? This while they get their funding from taxpayers. We for all they say with a straight face. It is this type of deceit that is bad news for journalism.

Berliner says things really got bad when Trump was elected president. This was when activism took off big time. This quickly veered off into a serious campaign to topple Trump; in spite of the fact that half of the US population had voted him in. So there was no consideration for their views at all. At the end of the day it was the talking points of Adam Schiff, the top Dem on the House Intelligence Committee that was the drumbeat of NPR.

When the Mueller report found no credible evidence of collusion against Trump; it did a Titanic and sank to the bottom though without as much as a passing comment.

And about that abandoned Biden laptop; one top journalist there remarked it was a good thing they were not covering it as it could help Trump.

Then there was Covid when the lab leak angle, which is looking more plausible by the day now, got a lot of rough treatment. It was dismissed as racist and right wing can you believe? NPR’s motto seemed to be stick to the official storyline, that way you can’t go wrong. When what they meant was don’t whatever you do fall foul of some official gasbag. Or upset China.

In essence the network lost its way when it told listeners how they should think says Berliner.

So who was responsible for this mess? Well our journo names names.

You need to start with CEO John Lansing. He came to NPR in 2019 from the agency that manages Voice of America. In addition it gets funds from the Feds. Like others he was hired to raise funds and to maintain good relationships with other member networks who receive their programs from NPR.

Most of these member networks are owned by non-profit orgs and they include public schools, colleges and universities.

After working behind the scenes he stepped it out after the killing of George Floyd. This event changed the dialogue even the daily operations at NPR entirely.

The message was America was infected by systemic racism; and that it was NPR’s job to change it.

It became about how everyone at the station was tainted by white privilege.

Lansing declared that diversity among our staff and in our audience is the number one priority.

Everyone they interviewed had to be asked their race, gender and ethnicity and then it had to be entered into a centralized tracking system. Non- binary people of colour were included to.

They were at the receiving end of unconscious bias training sessions. Monthly dialogues were held for women of colour; and men of colour.

These initiatives were bolstered by a $1 million grant from the NPR Foundation; and came from management from the top down.

There was a number of burgeoning affinity groups among the staff; all based on identity.

The nitty gritty of this stuff is Bolshie-like. Can you think of any other way to describe it? It is re-education at its finest minus the camps.

Just look at some of these groups would you. My what a cast!

They included MGIPOC (Marginalized Genders and Intersex People of Color mentorship program); Mi Gente (Latinx employees at NPR); NPR Noir (black employees at NPR); Southwest Asians and North Africans at NPR; Ummah (for Muslim-identifying employees); Women, Gender-Expansive, and Transgender People in Technology Throughout Public Media; Khevre (Jewish heritage and culture at NPR); and NPR Pride (LGBTQIA employees at NPR).

Lansing concludes with the remark that the most damaging thing to have happened at NPR is the absence of viewpoint diversity.

Meanwhile there is this. NPR’s CEO Katherine Maher has been called to appear before Congress to answer questions on alleged bias at the network.

We hear she will not be attending a US House Committee hearing so is she stalling? Admittedly she has been CEO for just six weeks and needs to come prepared but we shall see.

Keep your eyes peeled to see if anything comes of this.



Ann Carriage

Political animal, interested in the story behind the story. A concepts driven individual.