NPR editor Uri Berliner resigns after writing essay saying it has lost America’s trust

In a piece published by the Free Press, Berliner criticized years of outlet’s coverage of key stories, including accusing it of ‘downplaying the atrocities of October 7’

The headquarters for National Public Radio (NPR) stands on North Capitol Street on April 15, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
The headquarters for National Public Radio (NPR) stands on North Capitol Street on April 15, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

NEW YORK — A National Public Radio editor who wrote an essay criticizing his employer for having lost its way and lost America’s trust in its coverage resigned on Wednesday, a day after it was revealed that he had been suspended.

Uri Berliner, a senior editor on NPR’s business desk, posted his resignation letter on X.

NPR would not comment on the resignation. Its head of public relations said the organization does not comment on individual personnel matters.

While Berliner said that he wished NPR to thrive and do important journalism, he wrote: “I cannot work in a newsroom where I am disparaged by a new CEO whose divisive views confirm the very problems” that he discussed in his essay.

The essay in question was written by Berliner for the online Free Press site under the title “I’ve been at NPR for 25 years. Here’s how we lost America’s trust.”

The three-and-a-half thousand-word essay examines NPR’s coverage of some of the biggest news stories in recent years, including the 2016 US elections, the murder of George Floyd in 2020, and the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and accuses the outlet of having “comfortably coalesced around the progressive worldview.”

Berliner, who is Jewish, heavily criticized NPR’s coverage of the Israel-Hamas war, which began with the October 7 terror assault on southern Israel, in which thousands of Hamas-led terrorists massacred some 1,200 people and seized 253 hostages, most of them civilians.

NPR has approached the war through an “intersectional lens,” Berliner said, adding that to him, that meant “highlighting the suffering of Palestinians at almost every turn while downplaying the atrocities of October 7, overlooking how Hamas intentionally puts Palestinian civilians in peril, and giving little weight to the explosion of antisemitic hate around the world.”

After his essay was published, Berliner was suspended without pay for five days for violating the company’s policy that it must approve work done for outside organizations, NPR reported on Tuesday.

Katherine Maher, a former tech executive appointed in January as NPR’s chief executive, has been criticized by conservative activists for social media messages that disparaged former president Donald Trump. The messages predated her hiring at NPR.

Katherine Maher, then-CEO of Web Summit, delivers her closing remarks on center stage at the Web Summit technology conference, in Lisbon, Thursday, November 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

In response to Berliner’s essay, Maher sent a letter to staff in which she didn’t mention him by name, but asserted that the viewpoint he had expressed was “deeply simplistic.”

While “journalism is nothing if not hard questions, questioning whether our people are serving our mission with integrity, based on little more than the recognition of their identity, is profoundly disrespectful, hurtful, and demeaning,” she wrote.

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