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  • Writer's pictureArmstrong Williams

NPR whistleblower highlights everything wrong with journalism today

PUBLISHED: April 24, 2024 | www.baltimoresun.com


As a career broadcaster and journalist, I’ve always believed that honesty wins a reader’s or viewer’s trust. Honesty may require confessing errors or reporting inconvenient truths. I am an unapologetic conservative. But I will never allow my political leanings to compromise my journalism. Edward R. Murrow is my model.


As polarizing Trumpian politics was born, journalism took a hit on both sides. Opposition to Trump found expression in highlighting the allegations of Trump’s collusion with Russia but burying the conclusion that evidence disproved the allegations. Support for Trump found expression in giving prime time to hallucinatory claims of electoral fraud while ignoring 61 court decisions proving the contrary and the volumes of discovery that poured forth in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation suit against Fox News that resulted in a staggering settlement.


The media is now suspect across the board — megaphones for liberal or conservative bias.

lengthy essay published this month in The Free Press by Uri Berliner, a senior business editor at the taxpayer-funded news outlet, NPR, highlights this evil. Berliner was suspended following the publication of his piece, and he later resigned, writing in a letter to NPR’s CEO: “I am resigning from NPR, a great American institution where I have worked for 25 years. I don’t support calls to defund NPR. I respect the integrity of my colleagues and wish for NPR to thrive and do important journalism. But I cannot work in a newsroom where I am disparaged by a new CEO whose divisive views confirm the very problems at NPR I cited in my Free Press essay.”


Berliner’s essay elaborates on NPR’s unusual reliance on Congressman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and Trump’s greatest foe at the time of the Russian collusion investigation, as a major source for their reporting on the issue. Berliner counts around 25 Schiff interviews, and laments, “But when the Mueller report found no credible evidence of collusion, NPR’s coverage was notably sparse. Russiagate quietly faded from our programming.”


The Hunter Biden laptop reveals a similar NPR bias. It contained credible evidence of Biden family influence peddling that was dismissed as Russian disinformation by relying on Biden intelligence poodles. NPR fumbled. It did no independent verification. Berliner writes, “During a meeting with colleagues, I listened as one of NPR’s best and most fair-minded journalists said it was good we weren’t following the laptop story because it could help Trump.”


And finally, the COVID-19 lab leak theory — the supposed right-wing conspiracy theory that COVID-19 may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan and that it might not have had natural origins was similarly dismissed by NPR’s science team. According to Berliner, their reasoning was related to “the Bush administration’s unfounded argument that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, apparently meaning we won’t get fooled again.”

Such journalistic malpractice is epidemic, whether about Russiagate, concocted claims of electoral fraud, Hunter Biden’s laptop or COVID-19. Speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil about anything disturbing to a journalist’s liberal or conservative dogmas.


Journalists were once a proud few who fought back against tyranny and the lies that governments told. Now, many of them have become party political agents ready to be summoned into service at a moment’s notice, weaponized to advance a partisan political agenda through propaganda.


Whatever happened to the truth-finding philosophy attributed to Sgt. Joe Friday in “Dragnet”: Just the facts, Ma’am.

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