Katherine Maher and the Ethics of Media Executive Bias

In media, as in life, everything old is new again.

NPR is less accustomed to controversy than most outlets of its esteem and influence, so the furor that erupted over now ex-staffer Uri Berliner’s excoriation of CEO Katherine Maher was the talk of media circles for days. Did Maher’s far-left-leaning tweets impugn her impartiality? Did her business-side position give her much editorial control to begin with? Is it realistic in the social media age for journalists and media executives to shield their personal beliefs from public view?  

John Breunig wrote an entertaining and incisive take on the Maher controversy for CT Insider. In it, he dives into her upbringing as the daughter of a progressive (in the best sense of the word) Connecticut politician and also argues that as the chief executive, rather than chief editor, Maher “doesn’t need to be a journalist.” 

He also reflects on his interview with me from back in 1992, when as the president of WNET-TV I was under immense pressure to raise funds amid an attack by Republican legislators over public media’s supposed liberal bias.

In media, as in life, everything old is new again.