NPR suspends editor whose essay criticized the station | Trending Viral hub

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NPR suspended Uri Berliner, the senior business editor who broke ranks and published an essay arguing that the nonprofit radio network had allowed liberal bias to affect its coverage.

Berliner was suspended by the network for five days, starting last Friday, for violating the network’s policy of not performing work outside the organization without first obtaining permission.

Berliner acknowledged his suspension in an interview with NPR on Monday, providing one of the network’s reporters with a copy of the written reprimand. In filing the warning, NPR said Berliner had not authorized his work for outside media and added that he would be fired if he violated the policy again.

Mr. Berliner’s essay was published last week in The Free Press, a popular Substack publication.

He declined to comment on the suspension. NPR said it did not comment on personnel matters.

The revelation of Berliner’s punishment is the latest retort to rock NPR since Berliner published his essay. Public radio employees were shocked by Berliner’s public condemnation of the station and several said they no longer trusted him because of his comments. Berliner told The New York Times last week that he did not contact the network before publishing his essay.

After the publication of Berliner’s essay, NPR’s new executive director, Katherine Maher, came under renewed scrutiny as conservative activists resurfaced a series of years-old social media posts that criticized former President Donald J. Trump and embraced progressive causes. One of the activists, Christopher Rufo, has pressured media organizations to cover controversies involving influential figures, such as the plagiarism accusations against Claudine Gay, former president of Harvard.

NPR said Monday that Maher’s social media posts were written long before she was named CEO of NPR, and that she was not working in the news industry at the time. NPR also said that while she managed the business side of the nonprofit, she was not involved in its editorial process. Maher said in a statement that “in the United States everyone has the right to free speech as a private citizen.”

Several NPR employees have urged the network’s leaders to more strongly renounce Berliner’s claims in his essay. Edith Chapin, NPR’s senior editor, said in a statement last week that managers “disagree with Uri’s assessment of the quality of our journalism,” adding that the network was “proud to stand behind” his work.

Some employees have started talking. Tony Cavin, NPR’s editor-in-chief of standards and practices, took issue with many of Berliner’s claims in an interview with The Times on Tuesday, saying Berliner’s essay mischaracterized NPR’s coverage of crucial stories.

Cavin said NPR’s coverage of Covid-19, one of the lines of reporting Berliner criticized, was in line with reporting from other major news organizations at the time. Coverage, he said, had attributed the origins of the virus to a market in Wuhan, China. He also defended NPR’s coverage of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, another area Berliner focused on, noting that Robert Mueller, the special counsel who investigated the issue, concluded that Russian state actors attempted to influence the elections. elections.

Cavin also noted that NPR had no way to verify early articles about Hunter Biden’s laptop after the story broke, but followed up with follow-up stories examining the situation. Berliner wrote that NPR had “turned a blind eye” to the story about Biden’s laptop.

“To somehow think that politics drives us is incorrect and unfair,” Cavin said.

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