Thoughts on Uri Beliner, Katherine Maher, and NPR

Agreeing with a political position is political.

If Alice thinks the Democrats are right 90% of the time and votes accordingly, she’s a Democrat. That’s what that means. If she supports the Democrats in conflicts with Republicans because while she might not agree with the Democrats right now, she knows she’s probably going to agree with them in the future, that’s being partisan. That’s what that word means.

Looking at the Uri Berliner affair, I think way too many people in NPR think, “But of course we’re all Democrats. We agree with them!” The NPR staffers aren’t lying. They’re not siding with the Democrats out of vindictiveness or funding desires. (The GOP has been sawing on ‘defund NPR’ for a while, so siding with the Democrats could reasonably be interpreted as a self-serving move for NPR staffers.) People tend not to carefully silo themselves, so the various positions might blend together.

But if everyone at NPR is a Democrat, that means everyone at NPR is a Democrat. And if they show the world as they see it, that’s going to be a very slanted worldview.

I looked at Uri Berliner’s essay at the FP and Maher’s reply at NPR. Katherine Maher does not seem to address any of the points Berliner raised. She doesn’t address newsroom bias, she doesn’t really talk about ideological conformity, nor the ‘lecturing tone’ Berliner criticizes. I was unconvinced.

I’m a Subaru-driving, PhD student at a private university in Denver. I listen to a lot of radio and read a lot of news. I’m NPR’s prime target, and I don’t listen to them.