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NPR CEO Hides from Congress


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The Free Press

Rather than answer questions in person about bias at the network, Katherine Maher submitted written remarks that sound ‘like a pledge drive.’

Eli Lake

May 8, 2024

Where the heck is Katherine Maher?

The NPR CEO has not made a single public appearance since April 9, when The Free Press published a bombshell exposé by Uri Berliner, a 25-year veteran at the network, alleging ideological bias at the institution.

Even today, when Maher was summoned by Congress to give testimony about whether NPR’s news reporting was “fair and objective,” she was a no-show. 

Her excuse? The night before the hearing, she announced she could not attend because of. . . a previously scheduled board meeting.

Instead, Maher submitted written testimony drafted in the prose style of brand management consultants. According to Maher, NPR is “bringing trusted, reliable, independent news and information of the highest editorial standards” to tens of millions of listeners. 

Meanwhile, four witnesses from media and political think tanks gave two hours of testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce about how federal money is shared between NPR and local public radio affiliates, among other issues. 


Meanwhile, Democrats on the committee defended Maher and criticized her accusers. Ranking member Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) called Berliner a “disgruntled former employee,” and questioned if his Republican committee members “were truly concerned about journalism,” given their lack of scrutiny toward right-wing media organizations with a “long history of peddling misinformation, disinformation, promoting partisan agendas, and sowing fear and division.” 

And Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) said, “Foreign adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party, Russia’s Putin, or Iran’s violent theocrats certainly enjoy it when American politicians undermine our own objective journalists. This committee should not do their dirty work for them.” 

But while Berliner does not advocate the defunding of NPR, he is sticking to his argument that the network must reform in order to survive. “NPR needs real leadership now,” he said. “The board will need to decide whether Katherine Maher is the right person for the job.”

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