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Whistleblower makes shocking claim: NPR, get this, has a liberal bias

Chris Graham
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A supposed NPR whistleblower is somehow making headlines with his not-at-all shocking claim that the news org is guilty of, gasp, liberal bias.

I know, next thing you’re going to tell me, the sky is blue, two plus two equals four, the moon landing, in fact, wasn’t actually staged in a Hollywood studio lot.

Apologies to my long-since passed Great Uncle Skeeter on that last one.

He went to his grave insisting the moon landing was faked.

And, credit to him, that was long before anybody had even thought of social media.

Perhaps the most damning claim from Uri Berliner, a senior business editor at NPR, in the column that he wrote for The Free Press, the newsletter of self-styled “liberal uncomfortable with the excesses of left-wing culture” and “left-leaning centrist” Bari Weiss: that he looked at voter registration for those employed in NPR’s DC newsroom, and found “87 registered Democrats working in editorial positions and zero Republicans. None.”

Yikes, you might say.

That is, until you start doing some mental math.

NPR is hardly the near-monolith it may have been, say, 50 years ago, before the likes of Rush Limbaugh made AM radio the go-to place for conservative talk.

And even AM talk radio isn’t what it was, say, 25 years ago, with the advent of satellite radio, podcasts and social media dinging the listener numbers, and the business model.

NRP used to be a hegemon in the radio-news space; now it’s a bit player, at best, propped up, as it has been for so long, by the annoying on-air fund drives backed up by promises of a coffee cup or tote bag.

It still gets federal funding, but nowhere near what you’d think by listening to your favorite local Republican congressman.

Around 1 percent of NPR’s annual budget comes from taxpayer dollars.

That’s it.

Balance that against the hundreds of millions in tax breaks that flow to its big-money competitors, a fair number of which are owned by big-money Republicans, and you see what’s really going on here.

Uri Berliner is writing about what he knows, which is the inner workings of NPR, where he’s worked for 25 years.

What he lacks is perspective, and it’s a lack of perspective that doesn’t look good on him, given that his job at NPR describes him as a “senior business editor.”

It’s hard to fathom that Berliner didn’t have the curiosity to look up the ratio of Democrats to Republicans at, for example, Salem Media, an unabashedly conservative outfit that has more than 3,000 radio-station affiliates, more than three times the number of affiliates that NPR has.

Or at Sinclair, which owns local TV stations in 100 markets covering 40 percent of the U.S.,  and whose owners have required its anchors to read pro-Trump propaganda on the air in the guise of it being news.

Do we even need to rhetorically ask about the ratio of Ds and Rs at Fox News, One America News Network, NewsMax?

Those criticizing Berliner’s piece have been kicking him in the shins suggesting that his column on The Free Press was his way of auditioning for a job with one of the above conservative outlets, which, couldn’t blame him if that’s what he’s doing.

You don’t ever hear Salem, Sinclair, Fox and the rest trying to meet payroll by begging their listeners and viewers for a small monthly donation, with a tote bag as the lure.

If there’s a problem that NPR should focus its attention on, it’s not the ideological makeup of its newsroom; it’s producing programming that is compelling enough to make money at the end of the day.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].