Column: NPR Morning Star Steve Inskeep Lamely Swats at Their Suspended Dissident

April 17th, 2024 5:45 AM

National Public Radio senior editor Uri Berliner has been suspended for his unauthorized critique of the insular liberal bias of his network. NPR star and Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep took to his Substack blog to slam Berliner’s article as “filled with errors and omissions.”

“His colleagues have had a rich dialogue about his mistakes,” Inskeep crowed, and dropped the bomb that it was “an article that discredited itself.”

For example, Inskeep declared an error in that Berliner found in D.C. voter records that NPR had 87 registered Democrats and no registered Republicans. When he was asked about Berliner at the San Antonio Book Festival, he says he told them “I am a prominent member of the newsroom in Washington. If Uri told the truth, then I could only be a registered Democrat. I held up my voter registration showing I am registered with ‘no party’. Some in the crowd gasped. Uri had misled them.”

Berliner didn't address if anyone was registered as “no party.” He did write there were zero Republicans. Did Inskeep refute that? No. Several NPR veterans harrumphed they registered as “no party,” just as left-wing journalists will tell pollsters they are “independents.”

Inskeep wrote, “While it’s widely believed that most mainstream journalists are Democrats, I’ve had colleagues that I was pretty sure are conservative (I don’t ask).” That rebuts Berliner how?

When Inskeep challenged Berliner personally on his claim that the editing process was “frictionless,” he said Berliner acknowledged they have newsroom debates, but “the real test is what we broadcast or publish.” Inskeep leaves out what Berliner wrote about – that they put out a lot of stories on “supposed racism, transphobia, signs of the climate apocalypse, Israel doing something bad, and the dire threat of Republican policies.” Anyone who listens to NPR programs gets an earful of those.

You have to laugh when Inskeep’s best defense is “everybody else did it, too.” He admits NPR did not report on the Hunter Biden laptop, but Berliner “leaves out the context: Other organizations also held off on the story because of doubts about the laptop’s authenticity. It wasn’t confirmed until much later.”  

Now who’s engaged in “omissions”? NPR not only refused to report on the laptop, their top news executive Terence Samuel openly boasted “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.”

That implies they weren’t going to touch this story, like it was a decaying rat corpse in the gutter.

Samuel signaled the same contempt on the horribly named evening newscast All Things Considered in June of 2021, suggesting to anchor Mary Louise Kelly they should seek the "whole truth," but exclude the liars: “It's not a matter of representing just opposite voices, but more voices and excluding the voices that are just pure disinformation.”

After those “other organizations” confirmed the laptop contents were real, nothing changed. Kelly brought on Samuel in 2023 to proclaim Trump would not be allowed to speak on NPR live as he was indicted because he was such a liar, but Kelly (as in 2021) didn’t bring up Hunter’s laptop.

But the most ridiculous line in Inskeep’s critique is claiming Berliner advocates “viewpoint diversity,” but he didn’t embrace it in his article, which spurred all his “errors and omissions.” If NPR is so committed to viewpoint diversity, would Inskeep agree to debate Berliner on air at NPR for an hour or two? Probably not. NPR hasn’t said one word on air about Berliner’s complaint.