NPR CEO: You Better Believe I Partnered With Gov't to Suppress 'Misinformation' About Pandemic, Elections

AP Photo/Armando Franca

By golly, I think we've discovered the qualifications that got Katherine Maher hired to run Government Radio. 

Christopher Rufo has done extensive digging into Maher's track record, none of which had anything to do with journalism until NPR made her its new CEO in January. Maher did work at Wikipedia as its CEO during the pandemic and the 2020 election, where she took an active role in content control. And by content control, Maher made clear in a remote address to the Atlantic Council in 2021, she means imposing censorship on any information or discussion to which the government objected on both topics (transcript via RealClearPolitics):


KATHERINE MAHER: We took a very active approach to disinformation and misinformation, coming into not just the last election, but how we supported our editing community in an unprecedented moment where we were not only dealing with a global pandemic but a novel virus, which by definition means we know nothing about in real-time. And we're trying to figure it out as the pandemic went along.

We really set up, in response to the pandemic but also the upcoming U.S. election as a model for future elections outside of the U.S., including as number happening this year.

The model was around how do we create a clearinghouse of information that brings the institution of the Wikimedia Foundation with the editing community in order to be able to identify threats early on, through conversations with government, of course, as well as other platform operators to understand what the landscape looks like.

Conn Carroll calls Maher "Queen of the Karens" in a hilarious WashEx column today. Perhaps a better nickname would be "Big Sister." Carroll also notes her track record of government censorship, and what Maher found objectionable in that role:


She’s a vegetarian. She hates cars. And white men flying on planes. She supports race-based reparations, rioting, and the Black Lives Matter movement. She believes “America is addicted to white supremacy.”

She doesn’t want to become a mother because “the planet is literally burning.” She uses phrases such as “CIS white mobility privilege” unironically. She admits to growing up “feeling superior … because I was from New England and my part of the country didn’t have slaves.” I wonder what fuels her sense of superiority now.

As completely out of touch as Maher’s views are with the rest of America, the scary part is how willing she is to use her ample power to snuff out dissenting voices. Not only did she falsely label Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) New York Times op-ed on the 2020 riots as “misinformation,” but she considered it her job at Wikimedia to censor speech she deemed harmful. Such speech includes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, of all people, using terms such as “boy and girl,” which Maher believes is “erasing language for non-binary people.”

Let's reflect on Maher's point in this 2021 clip a bit more. She acknowledges that COVID-19 was a "novel virus" (true), "which by definition means we know nothing about it in real time" (also true). Maher also admits that we were "trying to figure it out as the pandemic went along" (also very true). 


And in the midst of all this uncertainty and ignorance even in the so-called expert circles, Maher's first instinct was to suppress debate and discussion in favor of the government line. Not coincidentally, that was also the first instinct of Maher's predecessor at NPR, John Lansing. And it was the first instinct for almost all of the national media in the US, too -- to act as an arm of government to suppress debate at the very time we needed it most. Maher, Lansing, and other media and Big Tech executives involved in this Big Brother syndicate essentially froze that ignorance in place rather than allow for debate and dissent to test the policies and declarations of bureaucrats.

Maher and others of her ilk aren't trying to inform Americans. They're trying to trap them in ignorance and indoctrinate them in Bureauspeak. 

That's not free speech. That's fascism, definitionally, as a combine of government and centralized corporate power enforcing the whims of the ruling elite.

Also not coincidentally, this episode at NPR was one of several cited by senior editor Uri Berliner in his critical Free Press column on how his platform "lost America's trust." NPR deliberately suppressed any mention of the evidence and argument for a lab leak as the origin of the novel coronavirus, among other failings in its coverage. Rather than address these specific criticisms, most of which weren't even about Maher's leadership, Maher chose to conduct a public attack on Berliner's character as a non sequitur distraction from NPR's failings.


Berliner chose today to become a former senior editor at NPR:

The mention of disparagement sounds like a saber rattling for an upcoming lawsuit. If nothing else about Maher gets NPR's attention, that might. And NRO's Jeff Blehar wondered last night if Berliner had set a deliberate trap for Maher, knowing it would be irresistible to the Right -- and maybe to the Queen of the Karens, who just blithely stepped into it:

In a profession where journalists and pundits read these sorts of big dishy insider pieces differently than normal folks do — searching for hidden implications, listening for dog whistles, and frankly sometimes wearing tinfoil hats — that paragraph instantly sounded a blaring klaxon. “PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THIS INCOMING BOSS WHO I WILL MENTION BY NAME AND WHO I MIGHT ADD LACKS ANY JOURNALISTIC BACKGROUND WHATSOEVER.”

And, mother of God, look what turned up once people like Christopher Rufo did just that. ...

Do you think Uri Berliner was unaware of any of this? Do you think he failed to do research on the background of the new CEO before he gave her a shout-out by name at the end of a piece savaging NPR’s decaying ethical culture? I don’t. He might as well have wished her luck with a capital “F.” 

Jeffrey's entirely justified chortling aside, this entire episode demonstrates the intellectual rigidity and determined ignorance of the censoring elite. Even when they admit that no one really knows anything, they are willing to impose a party line to extend that ignorance as long as it protects all the best elites. That's especially true in media circles, and even more so with government-funded media platforms like NPR. 


Hiring the Queen of the Karens wasn't a bug in NPR's plans. It was a feature.

If you weren't convinced before now of the necessity of supporting independent platforms for news and information, these developments should remove all doubt. National media platforms want activists like Maher in charge of their organizations in order to facilitate fascist control of the information spaces. They wish to construct Orwell's Big Brother not just to propagate propaganda for the bureaucratic state, but also to suppress any other messaging. 

We talk about this more often now because we see the coming crisis in media more clearly than ever. We hope we can gather as many allies as possible to keep all of these issues in the public square – and indeed to preserve the public square at all.

Join us in the fight. Become a HotAir VIP member today and use promo code FAKENEWS to receive a 50% discount on your membership.

Addendum: Maybe this is what NPR will use as its new motto ...

David and I were working on similar topics this morning. If you haven't already read his essay, be sure to read it soon. 


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