NPR Editor Who Accused Broadcaster of Liberal Bias Resigns

Uri Berliner, the NPR editor who accused the broadcaster of liberal bias in an online essay last week, prompting criticism from conservatives and recrimination from many of his co-workers, has resigned from the nonprofit.

Mr. Berliner said in a social media post on Wednesday that he was resigning because of criticism from the network’s chief executive, Katherine Maher.

“I cannot work in a newsroom where I am disparaged by a new C.E.O. whose divisive views confirm the very problems at NPR I cite in my Free Press essay,” Mr. Berliner wrote.

In his brief resignation letter, addressed to Ms. Maher, Mr. Berliner said he loved NPR, calling it a “great American institution” and adding that he respects “the integrity of my colleagues and wish for NPR to thrive and do important journalism.”

An NPR spokeswoman, Isabel Lara, said the nonprofit does not comment on personnel matters.

In an interview, Mr. Berliner said his decision to resign from NPR coalesced early this week after an email exchange with Ms. Maher. He said in the interview that he could infer from one of her emails that a memo she had sent to employees last week about workplace integrity was referring to him even though he had not been mentioned by name. In the email, which was sent to Mr. Berliner on Monday, Ms. Maher said her memo “stands for itself in reflecting my perspective on our organization.”

“Everything completely changed for me on Monday afternoon,” Mr. Berliner said.

Mr. Berliner’s essay stirred up a hornet’s nest of criticism of NPR and made Mr. Berliner something of a pariah within the network. Several employees told The New York Times that they no longer wished to work with him, and his essay was denounced by Edith Chapin, the network’s top editor.

Many journalists at NPR pushed back against the essay, including the “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep, who said on the newsletter platform Substack that Mr. Berliner failed to “engage anyone who had a different point of view.”

“This article needed a better editor,” Mr. Inskeep wrote. “I don’t know who, if anyone, edited Uri’s story, but they let him publish an article that discredited itself.”

Mr. Berliner’s essay found some defenders among the ranks of former NPR employees. Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, a former ombudsman, said on social media that Mr. Berliner was “not wrong.” Chuck Holmes, a former managing editor at NPR, called Mr. Berliner’s essay “brave” on Facebook.

Critics of NPR, including conservative activists, used Mr. Berliner’s essay in The Free Press to impugn the network’s journalism and its leadership. One of them, Christopher Rufo, began resurfacing social media posts from Ms. Maher that were critical of President Donald J. Trump and embraced progressive causes. Mr. Rufo has a history of pressuring media organizations to cover critical stories of well-known figures, including the plagiarism allegations against Claudine Gay, the former Harvard president.

NPR said in a statement earlier this week that Ms. Maher’s social media posts predated her term as chief executive, adding that she was not working in news at the time.

Before he resigned from NPR, Mr. Berliner was on a five-day suspension from the network for violating company policy against working for outside organizations without securing permission.

Mr. Berliner said he did not have any immediate plans after leaving NPR, adding that he was looking forward to getting more sleep and spending time with his family.

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