NPR’s Lurch to the Left

Written by Robert Knight

For years, those of us in the media have known that National Public Radio could also be called National People’s Radio.

It’s no secret that tax-subsidized NPR has leaned left since its inception in 1970. But the network had some good reporting and used to keep its most radical elements mostly in check.

Public radio even features discussions pitting conservatives against liberals on various issues. I did some of those when I worked as a cultural policy analyst for the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America. I even debated Barney Frank, the gay longtime Massachusetts congressman, a couple of times.

This was before defending marriage as the union of a man and a woman and noting the difference between boys and girls became so toxic that such discussions are now banned as hate speech.

This past week, a longtime NPR journalist, Uri Berliner, blew the lid off with an article headlined “I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust.”

Appearing on the Free Press online Substack, the piece has gone viral, as noted in a front-page Washington Times story last Thursday.
Mr. Berliner seems to be the kind of well-intended liberal who believes, despite thousands of years of evidence, that people are basically good and that we just need more government to fix everything.

He says right off the bat that he is “Sarah Lawrence-educated, was raised by a lesbian peace activist mother, I drive a Subaru, and Spotify says my listening habits are most similar to people in Berkeley. I fit the NPR mold. I’ll cop to that.”

In other words, he isn’t some MAGA Republican wringing his hands at the outrageous liberal bias that infects most of the press — and NPR in spades.

As of this writing, he is still working for NPR, but I would guess his days are numbered there, and he knew that when he wrote his remarkably candid essay.

NPR’s leftist shock troops have served the progressive cause slavishly since 2016 when Donald Trump emerged as the monster under the bed for every liberal.

There wasn’t much NPR wouldn’t and won’t do to vilify Mr. Trump or to shill for President Joe Biden. They pushed the Russian collusion hoax concocted by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and helped enable the cover-up of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

One of NPR’s darlings is U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat running for the Senate who presided over the congressional jihad against Mr. Trump. Mr. Schiff emitted baldfaced lies by the bushel, and NPR ate them up.

“Schiff, who was the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, became NPR’s guiding hand, its ever-present muse,” Mr. Berliner writes. “By my count, NPR hosts interviewed Schiff 25 times about Trump and Russia.”

To this day, Mr. Schiff maintains that he has evidence that Mr. Trump worked with Russians to swing the 2016 election, even though he hasn’t shared it, and it was Democrats who colluded to smear Mr. Trump.

You name the issue, and NPR has brushed aside inconvenient facts while pushing current orthodoxies. They worked especially hard to bury the Hunter Biden laptop story that the New York Post broke in October 2020.

“Here’s how NPR’s managing editor for news at the time explained the thinking,” Mr. Berliner writes. “‘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.’”

Another NPR journalist, he recalls, warned that any coverage might help Mr. Trump.

After the New York Post’s story was proved accurate about Hunter’s ownership and the shocking revelations about the Bidens’ influence peddling in China and Ukraine, NPR refused to correct its misreporting.

George Floyd’s death in police custody in 2020, which launched the Black Lives Matter movement, became a lodestone for racially tinged activism at NPR.

The “message from the top,” Mr. Berliner recalls, was that “America’s infestation with systemic racism was declared loud and clear: it was a given. Our mission was to change it.”

NPR’s staff was subjected to charges of White privilege and forced to undergo diversity training.

“Race and identity became paramount in nearly every aspect of the workplace,” Mr. Berliner says. “Journalists were required to ask everyone we interviewed their race, gender, and ethnicity (among other questions), and had to enter it in a centralized tracking system. We were given unconscious bias training sessions. A growing DEI staff offered regular meetings imploring us to ‘start talking about race.’”

Affinity groups sprouted, including those representing LGBTQ employees. NPR staffers faithfully pushed transgenderism and were told to “avoid the term biological sex.”

There’s more, but you get the idea. The irony is that Mr. Berliner’s article is superbly written, first-class journalism.

The kind you don’t hear on NPR anymore.

This article was originally published by The Washington Times.

Robert Knight is a former Los Angeles Times news editor and writer and was a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. This column was originally published by The Washington Times.

He has been published by the Wall Street Journal, National Review, the Christian Post,,,, and many others.  He has co-authored three books and written 10, including “Liberty on the Brink: How the Left Plans to Steal Your Vote” (D. James Kennedy Ministries, 2020) and “The Coming Communist Wave: What Happens If the Left Captures All Three Branches of Government” (D. James Kennedy Ministries, 2020) . 

You can follow him on Twitter at @RobertKnight17, and his website is