Will NewsGuard Demote NPR’s Perfect Rating After Revelations of Liberal Bias?

April 12th, 2024 5:23 PM

On Tuesday, National Public Radio business editor Uri Berliner blew the whistle on the station’s “assembly line” of liberally biased reporting, which he said was being cranked out “one story after another” framed with the leftist worldview. The expose put NPR under the microscope and put a serious blemish on the organization. But the question now is: will that blemish finally force media-scoring agency NewsGuard to downgrade NPR’s perfect 100/100 rating?

In his essay entitled “I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust,” Berliner explained: “There’s an unspoken consensus about the stories we should pursue and how they should be framed. It’s frictionless—one story after another about instances of supposed racism, transphobia, signs of the climate apocalypse, Israel doing something bad, and the dire threat of Republican policies. It’s almost like an assembly line.”

Berliner appeared on NewsNation with host Chris Cuomo Tuesday night and described the current company culture as “a much narrower kind of niche thinking, a group think that's really clustered around various selective progressive views that don’t – they don't allow enough air and enough spaciousness to consider all kinds of perspectives.”

That certainly didn’t sound like the type of environment that would be conducive to fair, objective, and unbiased reporting. Especially if their default framing for reporting was that Republican policies were considered a “dire threat” to the country.

But as of the publication of this piece, NewsGuard still had NPR rated at perfect 100/100.

As MRC Associate Editor for Business & Free Speech America Joseph Vazquez recently reported, NewsGuard can reluctantly downgrade legacy liberal media outlets when they have terrible reporting held up under their nose.

NewsGuard was seemingly forced to recently downgrade The New York Times from a perfect 100 to 87.5/100 after the Media Research Center repeatedly called out The Times’ shoddy reporting and NewsGuard’s refusal to act on it.

As Vazquez noted in the 2023 study of NewsGuard’s rankings, the point of the whole system was for it to be used as a “cudgel” against right-leaning news organizations:

NewsGuard wields its ratings as a cudgel, attempting to scare away advertisers from doing business with media and organizations that have been accused of promoting so-called “misinformation” or wrongthink on a whole host of issues like abortion, climate change, COVID-19 and elections. In so doing, NewsGuard effectively strips media outlets with which it disagrees of their ad money, slowly bleeding out their coffers.

This time, the calls were coming from inside the preverbal house with a 25-year NPR veteran being the one to cry foul.

Berliner also told Cuomo he was getting – while not public – internal support from some of his NPR colleagues. And a recent Times article noted Berliner was getting backup from former NPR ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin.

The article also reported that internal pushback to Berliner rejected calls for ideological diversity in the newsroom: “In one group, several staff members disputed Mr. Berliner’s points about a lack of ideological diversity and said efforts to recruit more people of color would make NPR’s journalism better.”

Clearly, NPR was not deserving of a 100/100 rating. So, how will NewsGuard react?