NPR Senior Editor Uri Berliner Suspended Over Scathing Op-Ed on Progressive Bias

The longtime business editor has been sidelined for five days without pay while management deals with the fallout

the National Public Radio (NPR) headquarters
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

NPR senior business editor Uri Berliner, who publicly torched the broadcaster’s progressive leanings in an op-ed last week, has been suspended for five days without pay since last Friday, according to his colleague and media reporter David Folkenflik

Berliner’s essay in the Free Press has created a massive headache for NPR leaders, who have dealt with the anger of many staffers. Last week, NPR’s president and CEO Katherine Maher responded to Berliner’s criticisms by launching a multi-level review process within the organization. 

The reason for his suspension hasn’t been stated. But on Thursday, a full four days after the essay was published, Berliner told the New York Times that he hadn’t been punished for it at all; instead, he had only been reminded by his bosses that NPR employees are required to get approval before writing for or talking to other media outlets. Berliner also told the Times he had not complied with this policy before speaking to it. He was suspended the next day.

NPR will implement quarterly network-wide editorial planning and review meetings, which will serve as a “venue for NPR newsroom leadership to hear directly from Member organization editorial leaders on how our journalism serves the needs of audiences in their communities.”

Maher also praised the work that NPR currently does, highlighting the integrity and independence of the organization’s reporting. 

However, in an interview on Monday, Berliner told Folkenflik “We’re looking for a leader right now who’s going to be unifying and bring more people into the tent and have a broader perspective on, sort of, what America is all about. And this seems to be the opposite of that.”

While Berliner has received criticism for not reaching out to NPR for comment prior to publishing his essay in the Free Press, he told Folkenflik that he repeatedly attempted to bring his concerns to leadership, which were not received. 

Part of the reason for Berliner’s suspension is that he failed to secure approval to publish in another news outlet. The suspension was categorized as a “final warning,” for Berliner.

Several NPR journalists have told Folkenflik that they refuse to work with Berliner going forward as they no longer have trust in his ability to keep information private. 

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