KLIPPER: It’s Time To Defund NPR

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Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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It’s time to defund NPR. In fact, it’s well past time. Republicans have long accepted the federally funded outlet’s left-wing bent as a simple fact of life. But Tuesday’s exposé into the deep journalistic malpractice of NPR’s newsroom gives Republicans all the ammo they’ll need to take it down.

“I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust,” NPR senior business editor and reporter Uri Berliner wrote Tuesday in The Free Press. For conservatives, this confessional won’t come as much of a shock. NPR has always been associated with Birkenstock-wearing, Prius-driving, self-satisfied liberals — and rightly so. But this isn’t the bitter ranting of a disgruntled former employee with an ax to grind. By all indications, it is the desperate plea of a company man, the only one, apparently, who sees what it will take to save the organization he loves and believes in. His revelations might be obvious, but they mean so much more as an insider diagnosis rather than outside observation. He thinks NPR can be saved, but he’s wrong. What he shows is that NPR is beyond redemption.

The key takeaway is NPR’s “lack of viewpoint diversity.” Berliner checked the voter registration of those working in the D.C. headquarters, and “found 87 registered Democrats working in editorial positions and zero Republicans. None.”

This would be fine, in theory, if they were able to compartmentalize their personal beliefs to cover the news. But in detailing how NPR willfully butchered several of the most contentious stories of recent years, Berliner shows they can’t — or won’t. (RELATED: ‘It’s Devastating’: 25-Year NPR Veteran Cops To All The Biased Coverage Outlet Pushed During Trump Years)

On Russiagate, he writes, “we hitched our wagon to Trump’s most visible antagonist, Representative Adam Schiff,” whose “talking points became the drumbeat of NPR news.” After the Mueller report turned up nothing, Russia stories “quietly faded from our programming.”

On the Hunter Biden laptop story, NPR publicly stated that it wouldn’t “waste our time” on “stories that are just pure distractions.” But behind the scenes, Berliner writes that one of NPR’s supposedly “best and most fair-minded journalists” simply admitted “it was good we weren’t following the laptop story because it could help Trump.”

On COVID, NPR tanked for the medical establishment, ignoring all credible evidence of the lab leak theory as it was too politically “radioactive.” Then came George Floyd.

This is when leftist zealotry supplanted any remaining journalistic integrity. NPR’s coverage failed to ask questions of whether American society was “beset by systemic racism in the 2020s.” Instead, Berliner writes, “America’s infestation with systemic racism was declared loud and clear: it was a given. Our mission was to change it.”

In Berliner’s view, NPR’s real journalistic sin was not how it often got the story wrong, but how it would then “pretend it never happened” and refuse to “make the hard choice of transparency.” He details his many attempts to address these concerns with company leadership over the years, all of which were either dismissed or ignored entirely. Rather, left-wing identity groups began “determining the terms and vocabulary of our news coverage.”

All of this goes to show that the NPR newsroom is beyond redemption. It is filled both with far-left true believers and regime apparatchiks, willing to say anything to insulate the powerful people they are meant to hold to account. They are actively hostile to being anything else, and combine into a noxious mixture that produces anything but “journalism.” (RELATED: NPR Veteran Says He’s Had ‘Support’ After Speaking Out About Outlet’s Biased Coverage)

Yet they are funded in no small part by the American taxpayer as part of a tricky scheme. Under the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act (PBA), the government allocates funds to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) each year. The CPB can then use those funds to support public television or radio, but by law, much of its annual funding must go to local stations. In turn, the local stations must then pay NPR if they want to broadcast its programming. The PBA actually requires them to do so, stipulating that “23 percent of [CPB funding] shall be available for distribution among the licensees and permittees of public radio stations … solely to be used for acquiring or producing programming that is to be distributed nationally and is designed to serve the needs of a national audience.” So while NPR receives little direct federal funding, its 2020-2021 financial statement showed roughly $90 million in revenue from these “contracts with customers.”

Berliner shows NPR will not reform by its own volition. While the nation burned during the BLM Summer of Love, NPR was churning out racialist agitprop, fanning the flames and denouncing the immorality of the very country that paid its bills. On one regime narrative after another, it shielded Permanent Washington from accountability as it continued to indirectly cash their checks. This is what the “journalists” at NPR view as their overriding mission. That’s fine, but the taxpayer should no longer compensate them for it.

NPR has long abandoned its mission of catering to a national audience. Today, only 11% of listeners identify as conservative while 67% identify as liberal, Berliner writes. Americans recognize the racket, but Berliner’s piece proves it. If Republicans take back control of the government in November, they have no reason to let this sorry excuse for journalism continue. It’s time to amend the PBA so that funds only flow to public organizations that cater to America’s national audience — as it’s actually constituted.