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Senior NPR editor resigns after accusing outlet of liberal bias

Uri Berliner wrote in an essay in The Free Press last week that NPR has an “absence of viewpoint diversity.”

An editor for National Public Radio resigned Wednesday just days after he inflamed the ongoing culture war about mainstream media with an essay about what he considers the news outlet’s liberal leanings.

Uri Berliner, who was a senior business editor, wrote an essay for the right-leaning online publication The Free Press in which he said he believes NPR is losing the public’s trust. 

NPR, a nonprofit radio network, has an “absence of viewpoint diversity,” he wrote in the essay, which was published April 9. It “has always had a liberal bent,” but now an “open-minded spirit no longer exists within NPR,” he wrote.  

The essay triggered a wave of scrutiny of NPR from conservatives, some of whom responded to it with calls to defund the news organization, which receives federal funding through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. NPR says on its website that federal funding is “essential” to NPR but that “less than 1% of NPR’s annual operating budget comes in the form of grants from CPB and federal agencies and departments.”

Uri Berliner in 2017.
Uri Berliner in 2017. JP Yim / WireImage file

In a resignation statement on X, Berliner briefly elaborated on the reason for his departure, which came days after NPR reported that it had suspended him for five days without pay following the op-ed’s release. 

NPR’s chief business editor, Pallavi Gogoi, had told Berliner about its requirement to secure approval before he appeared in outside media, according to NPR’s report.

“I don’t support calls to defund NPR,” Berliner wrote. “I respect the integrity of my colleagues and wish for NPR to thrive and do important journalism.  But I cannot work in a newsroom where I am disparaged by a new CEO whose divisive views confirm the very problems at NPR I cite in my Free Press essay.” 

Berliner did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. A representative for NPR said it “does not comment on individual personnel matters.” 

Berliner’s essay gained traction on X, with many conservatives homing in on his thoughts about NPR’s political makeup. He wrote: “In D.C., where NPR is headquartered and many of us live, I found 87 registered Democrats working in editorial positions and zero Republicans. None.” 

He also criticized NPR’s coverage, or lack thereof, of certain stories, such as the Mueller report, Hunter Biden’s laptop, the origins of Covid-19 and systemic racism following the murder of George Floyd.

High-profile supporters of Berliner’s essay, including former President Donald Trump and X owner Elon Musk, shared criticism of NPR and its CEO, Katherine Maher. 


Musk wrote on X that the “head of NPR hates the Constitution of the USA” in response to a clip of Maher discussing the challenges in fighting disinformation and honoring the First Amendment right to free speech.

Meanwhile, some journalists at NPR pushed back against Berliner’s accusations.

“Morning Edition” co-host Steve Inskeep shared his take in a post on his Substack newsletter, saying he believes Berliner failed to “engage anyone who had a different point of view.”

“Having been asked, I answered: my colleague’s article was filled with errors and omissions,” he wrote, adding, “The errors do make NPR look bad, because it’s embarrassing that an NPR journalist would make so many.”

NPR’s chief news executive, Edith Chapin, also denied Berliner’s assessment of the newsroom in a memo to staff members, according to NPR.

“We’re proud to stand behind the exceptional work that our desks and shows do to cover a wide range of challenging stories,” she wrote. “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.”

Maher also said Monday in a statement to NPR: “In America everyone is entitled to free speech as a private citizen. 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. NPR is independent, beholden to no party, and without commercial interests.”