Thursday, April 18, 2024

It’s Thursday, April 18, 2024. 

I’m Albert Mohler and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

Part I

A Former NPR Employee Drops a Bombshell (And Now he is Gone): Senior Business Editor Reveals Scandal of the Media Class and the Leftist Ideological Worldview of National Public Radio

The very fact that most of the elite media skew left, and frankly way left, is now far beyond dispute, but that’s not to say it’s far beyond controversy. And just in recent days that controversy has escalated at National Public Radio, and it led yesterday to a whistleblower at National Public Radio resigning and citing the crackdown by the management of NPR, criticizing his criticism as the reason for his resignation.

Uri Berliner is the man who is at the center of this controversy. He was, until yesterday, a Senior Business Editor at National Public Radio, and in a piece that was published online in the Free Press, Berliner went on and he raised the issue as to why NPR is mistrusted, and he got right to the point when he made very clear that the network has lost America’s trust precisely because it is now so predictably and egregiously leftist. So not just liberal, but frankly to the left of liberal.

What we’re seeing here, by the way, is a picture that is replicated throughout the mainstream liberal media. You now have older people on the staff, if they are still clinging on, they’re being displaced by younger leftists who are continually even leftier when it comes to their political and ideological positions. We have seen this happen at the New York Times, we have seen it happen across so many of the elite media institutions, where people who were liberals just a generation ago were replaced by leftists, and now the further leftists are pushing them out.

So many of these institutions and brand names of the media establishment, such as the New York Times, National Public Radio, of course the major television networks, other major elite newspapers, news magazines such as The Atlantic, what you’re looking at here is the fact that the frame of reference is now so decidedly on the left that you have a loss of the perception apparently on the left, that they are on the left, because they are just living in an echo chamber of leftist thoughts, the only point of reference appears to be further to the left.

Now, what we need to see very clearly here is that in this very significant article, Uri Berliner makes the point that NPR was trusted more in the past than it is now. It has lost trust, and it’s lost trust when it comes to listeners among the American people because he says it is now so far to the left. A bit in jest, but only in jest, I began my article at World Opinions yesterday on this issue by asking, “Does National Public Radio coverage skew to the left?” And then I made this point, “Any conservative familiar with a self-described public radio network will be tempted to respond with another question, ‘Is the Pope Catholic?’”But my point is this, there may actually now be a sense, this works both ways, that the leftism of National Public Radio is more consistent than the Catholicism of the current Catholic Pope. You ask, is NPR liberal? Yes, it’s not only liberal, it’s exceedingly liberal. In one sense, on the left, it is now past liberal.


Now, the amazing thing about this is that this controversy breaking story published at the Free Press, it is being treated by many people as news, as in the fact that it supposedly brought the revelation of a more liberal bent on coverage, and a more liberal perspective on those who are producing the coverage at National Public Radio. But if that’s news to you, it’s only because you haven’t been paying attention. I’m not, frankly, arguing that you should have been paying attention, the fact is you should now be paying attention because this turns out to be a very big story.

Now, as I said, Berliner resigned yesterday from NPR after he had been put on an involuntary leave because of this article. Now, NPR’s management said that it had put Berliner on this indefinite leave because he had offered this kind of piece and published it through an alternative, that is to say, a different news source than NPR. That might well be a rule and this particular editor might have broken it.

On the other hand, even insiders at NPR felt like any sanction taken against Berliner was simply going to make his point, which indeed it did, emphatically. It’s not clear that other people in the same position at NPR have been met with the same sanction. The point is, NPR was skewered by what is now its former employee, who was extremely honest about the trajectory of National Public Radio.

Now, one of the reasons we’re talking about this is because whether you know it or not, if you are an American taxpayer, you are helping to underwrite National Public Radio. You’re not doing so directly, but National Public Radio, known as NPR, is unique in being federally chartered, and frankly being federally funded. It is not funded directly in terms of the federal budget, it is funded indirectly through what is known as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, that’s where the American taxpayer money goes, and it is distributed towards several of these federally chartered organizations.

What’s the history here? Well, the history is really interesting. If you go back into the 20th century, one of the most respected media sources, perhaps the most respected in the world, was the BBC, the British Broadcasting Corporation. It emerged very early in terms of the age of radio, and it was a combination of this new technology of radio plus the sophistication of the media outreach of the British Empire. And when the British Empire was at its height, the radio opportunity was a golden opportunity.

The BBC pretty quickly established a reputation as the elite news media of the age. There were attempts by other nations to come out with other kinds of public networks, but in the United States, the radio spectrum, starting with AM as it’s known, quickly became a part of commercialized radio, it fell into the hands of commercialized entities and they became the big names, such as the clear channel AM stations that dominated the American broadcasting landscape for decades.

There was no central federal government supported radio network, and this was true until the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was established, and then National Public Radio, which was established with its first air date on April the 20th of 1971. So we’re talking decades after the BBC had established such a reputation. And NPR, National Public Radio, has never come close to having the kind of stature or reputation of the BBC, precisely because it was really too late in terms of a shift to other media by the time it was established. And honestly, even when it came to radio, you really had the domination of commercialized radio in the United States, government funded radio, it had to come in with another kind of niche, and that niche from the beginning was more or less a very elite audience.

Now, NPR doesn’t want to say they have an elite audience, but they do have a very elite audience. Study after study indicates that listeners to NPR tend to be disproportionately highly educated and more liberal, more in the professional class. To state the matter clearly, there aren’t many radios taken to the beach playing National Public Radio news content.

But the other thing to note is that by the time you get to the formation of National Public Radio in 1971 with its first broadcast, you do have an opportunity for a new niche, a more serious, in some cases, more comprehensive news coverage. It was sold to the American public as more thoughtful, not infected by commercialized interests. But that’s not to say that it wasn’t infected by interests, because the reality is that those who founded National Public Radio, they from the beginning were the kinds of people who were very interested in working for a government funded radio broadcasting organization.

So you really don’t have to do any sophisticated in-depth surveying and analysis to pretty much figure out that this is where NPR started, the point that is made by Uri Berliner is that it started with a great deal more credibility than it has now because, quite frankly, in recent years it has just skewed so far to the left that it wouldn’t be recognizable even to the listeners who expected it to be pretty much liberal going all the way back to the 1970s.

Now as I’ve said, Berliner’s piece has dropped like a bombshell, and the power of it is that it is written with insider knowledge. So, he’s a longtime veteran of NPR, he has the status of being a senior business editor at the network, and he’s done his own study. And in his own study, for example, he found out that according to voter registration rolls, the number of people with prominent positions in the NPR newsroom that are registered as Republicans is the net number of zero.

Now amazingly enough, you would have some people with a straight face say, you know, that really doesn’t matter, because people leave their politics at the door. Well, of course they don’t. Anyone listening to National Public Radio, and I have listened for years, anyone listening to National Public Radio knows that the politics are in the house, and they’re rather constant.

Now, just as a personal anecdote here, I started listening to National Public Radio when it was very new in the 1970s, when I was a teenager. It was a very helpful teacher who had suggested to me that I should listen to NPR in order to understand the way the cultural elites think. That was actually very good advice in terms of understanding how the cultural elites think. I’ve been listening to National Public Radio for decades, and yes, I can give you a testimony that from the beginning it skewed liberal, but boy, we are talking about now what can only be described largely as leftist with the brakes off.

For example, just over the last several days there have been stories, of course, about abortion, IVF treatments, and all the rest, and you know who is at the center of those stories? Not a woman, not a pregnant woman, but a pregnant person. Berliner, in his expose, indicates that the network has what is known as a transgender coverage guidance document which calls for no reference to be made in the broadcast to biological sex. In other words, biological sex is now verboten. It is now considered to be unacceptable language.

And so this is just another sign of the abdication, which is pre-interview, it’s pre-broadcast, before there’s the coverage of a single news story the rules are already in place to make this very much from the perspective of the left, and this means particularly from the portions of the left so affected by critical theory, so driven by what I would call cultural Marxism and by the LGBTQ revolution. These are the people who assume that starting from a generally leftist position is just starting from neutral.

Berliner’s article also indicates that NPR has what is known as a mentorship program for MGIPOC, that is Marginalized Genders, and Intersex, People of Color. Now, this is the ideology of intersectionality, so that can get confused because the word intersex is here, but I’m talking about intersectionality, which is different. That’s the suggestion that you have multiple layers of oppression. This is the Marxist, or neo-Marxist analysis about the society, says there are multiple intersections of different forms of oppression, and if you are at one of those intersections, you’re just more oppressed.

And thus, intersectionality means, that identity politics is just driven to its ultimate extreme, in which, for example, according to the theory of alleviating oppression in the name of naming intersectionality, you would say that it’s one thing for a lesbian to be oppressed, but if the lesbian is also Black, well, that lesbian is even more oppressed. If this is a Black lesbian who claims some kind of disability, well, there are now three dimensions of oppression that are intersecting, as in the intersectionality of the problem, and so what you’re looking at here is the fact that this has been institutionalized at NPR.

And so NPR is in the position of so many others on the left in the mainstream media of saying, we are just applying these principles. Yeah, but it’s the principles that already thrust you into an extremely liberal or leftist worldview, and by the way, you’re not acknowledging this.

Now, I mentioned the British Broadcasting Corporation earlier, the BBC. It was really envy about the BBC that led in part to the creation of National Public Radio. Now, the BBC now is not what it was back then either, but at least going back to the golden age of the BBC under the leadership of Lord Reith of Stonehaven, known as Sir John Reith, you had the BBC actually standardizing what was called received pronunciation, and that’s the famous British accent you associate with the BBC. The idea was everyone will sound alike. This is official British government radio, this is radio on behalf of the entire British people, and this is how the British speak, “From London, this is the BBC.”

Now, as I said, it was something like envy of the BBC that led to the creation of National Public Radio, but quite frankly, NPR has never come close to the BBC in terms of its influence. For one thing, we’re not talking about the BBC at the height of the British Empire when radio was king, now we’re talking about NPR competing in a world of other elite media, competing for attention, competing for ears. And in this case, NPR established its reputation on a certain kind of coverage, a certain kind of sophisticated analysis, a certain kind of cultural signaling, even a certain kind of voice.

The iconic voice of NPR was a rather laid back intellectual voice, but all that began to change in the last decade with big staff changes and production changes in which there was the effort to make NPR sound, as was said at the time, more like America, and that meant with a greater diversity representation. And so even as the BBC has changed, so National Public Radio has changed. But the point is, NPR really began a bit too late for the great crest of radio, and so from the beginning it really didn’t have any widespread popular listenership, it has pretty much been directed towards a certain stratum of the society, well-educated, financially more well off, and more politically and socially, more morally liberal.

Now, when it comes to this particular exposé of NPR, which, remember, was done from the inside, Uri Berliner points to several more recent storylines as evidence of the leftist bias that has corrupted and contorted the coverage at National Public Radio. This would include the network’s coverage of COVID-19. And in particular, Berliner points to the fact that NPR tried to pour cold water on the idea that the virus might’ve emerged from a Chinese lab, that was really dismissed as something of a right-wing fantasy. Well, that has become something which many sources far outside of conservative sources, now official government sources, admit just might well have been the source of the virus that causes COVID-19. And then there was the story of the Hunter Biden laptop. Again, he documents the way that this was presented from a leftist perspective, and other major stories as well.

But the point Berliner makes is that on a host of issues, “What’s notable is the extent to which people at every level of NPR have comfortably coalesced around the progressive worldview.” Those words are just really important, “What’s notable is the extent to which people at every level of NPR have comfortably coalesced,” that’s an interesting expression, “around the progressive worldview.” Now you’ll notice that he names this as the progressive worldview, that’s really important, I think it’s quite accurate, and this is commendable honesty. Berliner cites research that indicates that 67% of the listeners to NPR are identified or identify themselves as, quote, “Very or somewhat liberal.” And by the way, that was 2023, so that’s very, very recent, and frankly, there’s no surprise in it at all.

So why do conservatives listen? Well, I listen, often, to NPR in order to find out what the other side thinks. That’s why I began listening to some of its programming when I was a teenager, a Christian teenager, trying to understand the big ideological and worldview battles of the age. Quite frankly, it wouldn’t have been interesting if it were just broadcasting from some rather vacuous centrist position. Now, I think that’s what it should have done, but what made it of interest in terms of worldview analysis was that if you wanted to listen to the left talking, this is pretty much where you could listen in.

Part II

Your Tax Dollars are Funding Progressive Ideologies: Why Do Our Elected Leaders Allow This?

Well, I need to shift at this point to say this is not just about National Public Radio. What makes NPR particularly egregious is the fact that American taxpayer money is channeled into it. Now, it’s not just American taxpayer money, taxpayers should be very concerned about that, and frankly, you have to wonder why conservatives in Congress have been so tolerant of this for so long. But it is also major American corporations, philanthropic foundations and others, who fund NPR. And let’s be honest, you just listen to those sponsorships, because they will read them at various points in the hour, you can find them on the website at NPR. When you look at those sponsorships, quite frankly, somebody knows what they’re paying for here. I’ll just state that bluntly, you’re looking at many of these organizations, many of these foundations, it is clear they’re already on the political, cultural, and moral left, and their investment is frankly just not coincidental.

Now, here’s where Christians need to step back for a moment and say, okay, as taxpayers, we have a particular responsibility here because this is National Public Radio, so we can speak into this as members of the public. When we look at commercial radio, commercial media, and of course it’s not just radio these days, of course it’s the explosion of media including the old legacy media, like radio and television, and of course now all the digital expressions. And so quite frankly, the picture is just a lot more complex than it was.

But here’s what Christians need to understand, nothing comes from nowhere. Which is to say that there’s not a single media, there are no media that are just coming from a position of absolute neutrality. That’s because human beings aren’t neutral. We can’t put our brains and our worldviews into neutral. One of the biggest problems when you look at this indictment of NPR is how politically lopsided the newsroom is. Once again, Berliner couldn’t find a single registered Republican among those who were in the newsroom. Now, perhaps that was just a fluke, and perhaps there’s one in there somewhere. But the point is we’re looking at a situation that’s so far out of balance, who could say with a straight face that this represents the American people?

And it gets to another point, which is that if you look at the media class, it comes back to a statement made by a critic who was a columnist at the New York Times back with the reelection of Richard Nixon when she said, “I don’t know how Richard Nixon won, no one I know voted for Richard Nixon.” Well, that really doesn’t say much about Richard Nixon, it says a lot about Pauline Kael who made the comment.

I think it’s probably true that there are a lot of people at NPR who’ve never known anyone who’s voted for a Republican, but that’s the problem for NPR. And I don’t think it’s a fixable problem. I mean, I think there are things that could be done to make NPR less ideologically leftist and more accountable, but the point is, I think this is a broken system, I’ll just be honest. I think this is a system where once you put this into the hands of the government, you are basically putting it into the hands of a government elite, you’re putting it into the hands of the administrative state, or in this case, to people who are even to the left of the administrative state. I think it’s going to be extremely difficult to fix this, but I would call upon conservatives in the United States Congress and any incoming Republican administration to at least be honest with the American people about the fact that NPR is NPR.

But the larger point for Christians is understanding the media landscape generally tilts far to the left. Now there are exceptions, and there are some very famous exceptions. But the point is, they are exceptions, the rule is that the mainstream magazines skew left. We’re talking about magazines for teenage girls these days that push the LGBTQ agenda as seemingly their central message. You’re looking at historic men’s magazines that used to be famous and infamous for running on the boundary of heterosexual pornography that are now, running articles about the glories of transgenderism.

We are looking at a massive cultural and media revolution. The point is that when you look at the New York Times, you look at the Los Angeles Times, you look at the Washington Post, honestly, the liberals who were working there 30 years ago probably would be unemployable now. That’s because the entire spectrum, the entire picture is moved so far left. And one of the ways this works, is that you have the same people reproducing themselves only to the left. You have journalism schools, and there are just a few elite journalism schools, such as Columbia, the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, a few other elite programs, and they tend to just produce more and more of the same, only more so.

The other issue for Christians to understand is that when you deal with an area of life that increasingly defines itself in terms of professionalism, then you have professional societies and a professional class emerge, and they often define their worldview intentionally to separate themselves from the people, the common people. I mean, just to be honest, what fun would there be if you find yourself in the elite and you think just the same as everybody else? Who’s everybody else? Red America, flyover America, conservative America.

Part III

Worldview Will Always Come to Light: The Inescapability of Ideology and Politics, Especially in the Newsroom

But as we conclude for today on The Briefing, it’s just really important that we all understand that worldview bleeds through, and that is simply because we are human beings. It’s inevitable that that worldview will come out. That is true for the liberals at the New York Times, it is true for The Briefing. I just want to state it all out loud, no surprises, I am speaking from an explicitly Christian worldview committed to orthodox biblical Christianity, and so I’ll just state it. And by the way, we are not taxpayer supported.

I think, honestly, most conservative American Christians have been pretty much aware of the media landscape. That’s one of the reasons why alternative media sources have become all the more prevalent, and in many cases, all the more influential. But we also need to understand honestly that when you are looking at something like NPR, it’s easy to say, well, that’s just about NPR, it’s just about a very rarefied and elite radio audience.

But here’s the point, that audience is also made up of the people who are writing the regulations in your profession. That elite is also made up of those who are increasingly the staffers who are writing the legislation that becomes laws. Those people are increasingly populating the classrooms as well as the newsrooms, and I think you can pretty much figure out in a hurry why that is such a problem.

And the other pattern here we simply have to remember is the fact that the left keeps moving left. And so that’s one of the points that Uri Berliner makes here, the left keeps moving left. Those aren’t his words, but that is very much a part of his argument. Because the people at NPR years ago overwhelmingly saw themselves as a part of a cultural elite, and undoubtedly they were on the left. But now they’re on the further left, and those who come behind them will be even further to the left. This is the way it works, and that’s one of the reasons why the left is so different than the right, and that’s because the classic distinction between the left and the right has been related to the question of political and cultural change, whether that change is to be resisted or it is to be embraced.

One of the saddest lessons of the 20th century, by the way, is that when you look at the left, the revolutions just continue to devour the previous revolutionaries. Now, the right is certainly not without its problems, but it doesn’t have this particular problem. The saddest issue about those in the left who have such an ordinate influence is that there is absolutely no limit where they may go, because as we’ve learned, even biology now is not a limiting concept. In case you wonder about that, just look at the transgender policy at National Public Radio. But honestly, you could have figured that out already.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing. 

For more information go to my website at You can follow me on Twitter by going to For information on the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary go to For information on Boyce College, just go to 

I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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