Opinion | Epic cowardice at NPR

The broadcaster dismissed a high-profile critique from within its ranks. Then it crumbled.


NPR last month fell victim to a digital ambush. One of its own editors, Uri Berliner, published an attack essay in the Free Press claiming that his colleagues pushed liberal “advocacy” and failed to promote viewpoint diversity in their ranks.

NPR Editor in Chief Edith Chapin responded in the fashion of a leader, crafting an assertive statement about the organization’s “exceptional work.”

Cowardice has now supplanted defiance: NPR last week announced a number of organizational changes, prominent among them the creation of an editorial “Backstop” that will scrutinize all of the outlet’s journalism prior to publication. It will be staffed by “a new group of senior-level editors who are not involved in the inception or development of a particular piece of work, working 24/7 to ensure that all coverage receives final editorial review,” Chapin wrote in a memo.

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