Uri Berliner

“It’s Devastating”: 25-Year NPR Veteran Admits to All the Biased Coverage the Outlet Pushed During the Trump Years

DCNF(DCNF)—Veteran National Public Radio (NPR) editor Uri Berliner published an essay on Tuesday exposing the government-funded outlet’s alleged bias during former President Donald Trump’s presidency.

Berliner, who has been at NPR for 25 years, alleges in the essay published in The Free Press that the outlet was striving to take down Trump during his presidency by citing Russia-collusion allegations that were later debunked. He also asserts that all levels of the organization were aligned on the prioritization of race and identity, leading to a lack of “viewpoint diversity” and increase in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

“Persistent rumors that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia over the election became the catnip that drove reporting,” he wrote. “At NPR, we hitched our wagon to Trump’s most visible antagonist, Representative Adam Schiff.”

“But what began as tough, straightforward coverage of a belligerent, truth-impaired president veered toward efforts to damage or topple Trump’s presidency,” he added.

Berliner also criticized the outlet’s managing editor for neglecting to cover the Hunter Biden laptop story during the 2020 presidential election, saying “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”

NPR also based reporting on former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci’s statements on the COVID-19 pandemic originating naturally, according to Berliner.

“We became fervent members of Team Natural Origin, even declaring that the lab leak had been debunked by scientists,” he wrote. “But that wasn’t the case.”

NPR has devoted significant resources to establishing a more diverse audience, but it has not been successful, Berliner wrote.

“In 2023, according to our demographic research, 6 percent of our news audience was black, far short of the overall U.S. adult population, which is 14.4 percent black,” he wrote. “And Hispanics were only 7 percent, compared to the overall Hispanic adult population, around 19 percent. Our news audience doesn’t come close to reflecting America. It’s overwhelmingly white and progressive, and clustered around coastal cities and college towns.”

“An open-minded spirit no longer exists within NPR, and now, predictably, we don’t have an audience that reflects America,” Berliner wrote. “That wouldn’t be a problem for an openly polemical news outlet serving a niche audience. But for NPR, which purports to consider all things, it’s devastating both for its journalism and its business model.”

The editor also noted the outlet’s audience has moved dramatically to the left, based on polling. “Back in 2011, although NPR’s audience tilted a bit to the left, it still bore a resemblance to America at large,” he wrote. “Twenty-six percent of listeners described themselves as conservative, 23 percent as middle of the road, and 37 percent as liberal.”

“By 2023, the picture was completely different: only 11 percent described themselves as very or somewhat conservative, 21 percent as middle of the road, and 67 percent of listeners said they were very or somewhat liberal. We weren’t just losing conservatives; we were also losing moderates and traditional liberals,” Berliner added.

“Race and identity became paramount” at the outlet after the death of George Floyd in 2020, Berliner wrote. He asserts all levels of the organization were aligned on the prioritization of race and identity, leading to a lack of “viewpoint diversity” and increase in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

“We were given unconscious bias training sessions,” Berliner wrote. “A growing DEI staff offered regular meetings imploring us to ‘start talking about race.’ Monthly dialogues were offered for ‘women of color’ and ‘men of color.’ Nonbinary people of color were included, too. These initiatives, bolstered by a $1 million grant from the NPR Foundation, came from management, from the top down.”

“Crucially, they were in sync culturally with what was happening at the grassroots—among producers, reporters, and other staffers. Most visible was a burgeoning number of employee resource (or affinity) groups based on identity,” he added.

The groups consisted of racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, according to Berliner. “The role and standing of affinity groups, including those outside NPR, were more than that,” Berliner wrote. “They became a priority for NPR’s union, SAG-AFTRA—an item in collective bargaining.”

NPR CEO John Lansing announced in a February 2023 memo that the outlet will lay off 10% of its employees and freeze vacant positions. The cuts were a result of the “erosion” of advertising revenue, particularly for podcasts, NPR reported.

NPR receives less than 1% of its funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, federal agencies and departments, according to its website.

NPR did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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