House Republicans Ask NPR CEO To Appear At Hearing After Bias Allegations

House Republicans are calling for NPR CEO Katherine Maher to appear at a hearing on May 8 following a now former staffer’s allegations of bias in news coverage.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, joined with two other House Republicans in a letter to Maher. “The Committee has concerns about the direction in which NPR may be headed under past and present leadership,” they wrote. “As a taxpayer funded, public radio organization, NPR should focus on fair and objective news reporting that both considers and reflects the views of the larger U.S. population and not just a niche audience.” The hearing would be before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

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Maher has defended the network after Uri Berliner, who had been a senior business editor and reporter, published an essay in The Free Press that claimed that the network lacked an “open minded spirit” and viewpoint diversity, and instead took a left wing approach to covering Donald Trump, race and other topics. Berliner later resigned from the outlet.

The House Republicans also cited NPR’s coverage of Covid, the Mueller report and the Hunter Biden laptop.

An NPR spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In their letter, McMorris Rodgers and the other House Republicans quote from Berliner’s essay and also posed a series of questions to Maher, including, “In the past five years, how many registered Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and registered voters who are not required by state law to declare an affiliation, has NPR employed as part of its news media staff?” They also ask Maher what steps have been taken to recruit Republicans.

Some NPR staffers have gone public by pointing out errors in Berliner’s essay. Steve Inskeep challenged Berliner’s claim that the newsroom was made up of unanimously registered Democrats, 87-0. Inskeep noted that he was registered with no party, but that was not reflected in the story.

Inskeep wrote on Substack, “NPR says its content division has 662 people around the world, including far more than 87 in Washington. The article never disclosed this context. (NPR doesn’t ask employees about their voter registration; I don’t know how Uri learned the 87 registrations he says he found.)”

NPR has faced past controversies, but calls to strip the organization of funding have gone nowhere. In 2011, conservative activist James O’Keefe caught an NPR fundraiser on video criticizing the Tea Party. The edited sting video led to the resignation of the network’s CEO, while there was some effort on Capitol Hill to zero out funding. A House bill to repeal federal funding passed, but it stalled out in the Senate.

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