GOP senator eyes legislation to defund 'propagandist' NPR after suspension of whistleblower

'NPR should not receive our tax dollars,' Sen Marsha Blackburn says

: Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is planning to propose new legislative action that would threaten to cut National Public Radio's (NPR) federal funding if passed, prompted by the news that it suspended an editor who went viral for exposing the outlet's partisan uniformity in its newsroom.

The Tennessee Republican is weighing a variety of legislative options to take on federal funding that goes to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which provides funding to NPR in the form of grants. She is specifically looking to prevent NPR from benefiting from public funds, due to what her office characterized as left-wing bias. 

"The mainstream media has become obsessed with doing the Left’s bidding and taking down strong conservatives — and NPR has led the pack," Blackburn said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "It makes no sense that the American people are forced to fund a propagandist left-wing outlet that refuses to represent the voices of half the country. NPR should not receive our tax dollars’."


Sen. Marsha Blackburn

Sen. Marsha Blackburn is looking to cut funding to National Public Radio after an editor, who has since been suspended, revealed that its newsroom was made up almost entirely of Democrats. (Getty Images)

Blackburn previously looked to sever the government's funding to NPR in 2011 when she was serving in the House of Representatives. At the time, the Republican-controlled House passed a measure that sought to cut $50 million from CPB.

"The time has come for us to claw back this money," Blackburn reportedly said at the time.

CPB is "fully funded by the federal government," per the nonprofit's website. The organization provides funding in the form of grants to both NPR and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The grants to NPR are used for its international bureaus and distribution infrastructure that provides content to all public radio stations. 

NPR veteran editor Uri Berliner was recently suspended without pay from NPR following his public criticism of his employer. The suspension was made public on Tuesday but began last Friday, according to NPR media reporter David Folkenflik. The organization reportedly told Berliner on Thursday that his punishment was a final warning, and that if he violated NPR's policy on employees seeking approval to do work for other news outlet, he would be fired.


Uri Berliner

Berliner said he published the essay after several attempts to voice concerns to leadership privately. (JP Yim/Wire Image)

"I love NPR and feel it's a national trust," Berliner said in an interview with Folkenflik. "We have great journalists here. If they shed their opinions and did the great journalism they're capable of, this would be a much more interesting and fulfilling organization for our listeners."

The senior NPR business editor said he made several attempts to relay his concerns before choosing to publish an essay in the Free Press, but they weren't heard by the organization's leadership.



NPR pushed back on concerns over ideological imbalance in its newsroom. (Getty Images)

In Berliner's scathing review of his employer's ideological homogeneity, he revealed that there were "87 registered Democrats working in editorial positions" at the Washington, D.C., headquarters "and zero Republicans. None."

He said that such a lack of viewpoint diversity seeped into the outlet's coverage, criticizing NPR's approach to a variety of prominent stories over the years, including allegations that former President Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 election, the laptop belonging to President Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and the theory that COVID-19 was triggered by a lab leak in China.

A spokesperson for Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, said that he is also trying to advance legislation in the House to defund NPR that he has introduced on multiple occasions, including the current Congress.

Jackson is actively seeking more co-sponsors for his bill and is pushing House leadership to consider it in the wake of recent events.

Rep. Ronny Jackson

Jackson has been pursuing NPR defunding since 2022. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., similarly told Fox News Digital in a statement, "I think Congress should exercise oversight of NPR, especially in light of the recent whistleblower’s allegations and subsequent suspension."

"Taxpayers fund NPR, and it should be a source that provides a truly neutral and balanced perspective," he said. "That can only be achieved through a politically diverse staff, otherwise, it is nothing more than a propaganda machine for the Democrat party."

"Sen. Cassidy was clear that Congress should end public funding for NPR," a spokesperson for Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said in a statement. "Our office is exploring options to do so." 

NPR did not provide comment in time for publication.

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