NPR Chief Responds To Senior Editor’s Op-Ed Arguing Outlet Has Lost Public Support

by State Brief

NPR’s Editor-in-Chief Edith Chapin issued a response to Senior Business Editor Uri Berliner’s Tuesday op-ed claiming the outlet had “lost its way” in recent years.

Berliner, a 25-year veteran editor of NPR, wrote in his op-ed published by The Free Press that an “open-minded, curious culture prevailed” throughout the network early in his career, though said NPR’s direction in recent years didn’t accurately reflect on America.

Shortly after the op-ed was published, Chapin issued a memo to employees expressing strong disagreement with Berliner’s assessment of the network’s “quality of journalism” and “integrity of [their] newsroom processes.”

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

Chapin touted NPR’s efforts to “verify accuracy” and adherence to the “highest editorial standards.”

“It’s why we have a standards and practices editor as well as a public editor to stand-in for the audience,” her memo continued. “It’s why we track sources — so we can expand the diversity of perspectives in our reporting.”

Chapin added NPR has “internal debates, enforce[s] strong editorial standards, and engage[s] in processes that measured our work precisely.”

“None of our work is above scrutiny or critique,” she continued. “We must have vigorous discussions in the newsroom about how we serve the public as a whole, fostering a culture of conversation that breaks down the silos that we sometimes end up retreating to.”

Her memo concluded by praising NPR’s staff for the “rigor” of their work.

Berliner’s op-ed specifically took issue with NPR’s framing of the controversial death of George Floyd, the Israel-Hamas conflict, and the investigation of former President Donald Trump’s alleged connection to Russia. The senior editor went on to claim NPR’s top network executives had pushed for the outlet to transition their messaging toward a consistently progressive liberal framing.

The NPR senior editor also said the outlet “turned a blind eye” during the 2020 presidential election after The New York Post broke the Hunter Biden laptop story, which Berliner argued was newsworthy.

“Its contents revealed his connection to the corrupt world of multimillion-dollar influence peddling and its possible implications for his father,” Berliner wrote.

Despite his frustrations with the outlet, Berliner did not believe defunding NPR was the answer to problems plaguing the outlet.

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