Flashback: NPR CEO Calls Pursuit Of Truth ‘A Distraction’

National Public Radio has long been the target of conservative critics who say the taxpayer-funded network essentially operates as a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party.

Those concerns received increased attention recently when a longtime NPR editor openly acknowledged the increasing leftist bias in a bombshell article published by the Free Press.

“An open-minded spirit no longer exists within NPR, and now, predictably, we don’t have an audience that reflects America,” Uri Berliner wrote. “That wouldn’t be a problem for an openly polemic news outlet serving a niche audience. But for NPR, which purports to consider all things, it’s devastating both for its journalism and its business model.”

His stark assessment of the organization for which he had worked for about 25 years sparked renewed scrutiny of the power structure behind the public broadcaster’s editorial slant — including remarks made by NPR CEO Katherine Maher during a 2021 TED Talk.

Prior to joining NPR last month, she had been the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation and offered her controversial take on the nature of truth in the media.

Highlighting the crowd-sourced online encyclopedia’s acceptance of public sentiment as reality, Maher bragged that “when it comes to the hard things, the places where we are prone to disagreement, say, politics and religion, well, as it turns out, not only does Wikipedia’s model work there, it actually works really well.”

She went on to make a stunning admission that her goal was not to present the truth at all.

“Because in our normal lives, these contentious conversations tend to erupt over a disagreement about what the truth actually is,” Maher said. “But the people who write these articles, they’re not focused on the truth. They’re focused on something else, which is the best of what we can know right now.”

Citing her seven years at the foundation, she bragged that the authors and editors of Wikipedia entries “are onto something that perhaps for our most tricky disagreements, seeking the truth, and seeking to convince others of the truth, might not be the right place to start.”

According to Maher’s assessment, “our reference for the truth might be a distraction that’s getting in the way of finding common ground and getting things done.”

Claiming that “we all have different truths,” she argued that objective reality does not exist and is only a reflection of “things like where we come from, how we were raised and how other people perceive.”

It remains to be seen how much of this post-truth philosophy Maher injects into the already leftist NPR culture, but as she settles into her new executive role, Berliner — after being suspended without pay for criticizing the network — turned in his resignation this week.