Charles Gasparino

Charles Gasparino


NPR just keeps on sliding more and more to the left as it unfolds into a complete crap show

I recently asked a prominent activist investor — someone who regularly demands from the public companies he targets various forms of boardroom change — what he would demand from a financially troubled radio network that needs to broaden its audience and make more money. 

His answer: He would issue an ultimatum that the CEO and management team no longer produce polarizing content because it alienates many of those all-important listeners.

Meanwhile, if you have an employee who is telling management how current programming is turning off those consumers, don’t ever think about shooting the proverbial messenger.

Listen to him; maybe even give him a raise. 

I’m withholding the activist investor’s name because he has enough problems on his hands to get in the middle of the unfolding crap show involving National Public Radio.

Suffice to say, the network, once known for its reliably wonkish takes on culture, politics and business, is doing just the opposite. 

Recently, it shot the proverbial messenger, now-former business editor Uri Berliner, who was suspended and then resigned after he called attention to the institutional progressive rot both internally and when no one listened in a published essay that went viral.

Plus, NPR is doubling down on all things woke with newish and cartoonishly leftist CEO Katherine Maher, who will carry on with the network’s turn further to the far left. 

All so strange to anyone who knows business because going woke has been a horrendous business model — as I point out in my upcoming book about the radicalization of Corporate America, “Go Woke, Go Broke.”

Most Americans are in the middle and hate the extreme left, or woke wouldn’t be such a pejorative. 

Progressive fringe 

NPR once boasted significant numbers of conservatives who liked its erudite news and opinion shows.

No longer, as Berliner’s essay in the Free Press pointed out, exposing NPR’s “news” as something designed by the progressive fringe of the Democratic Party.

It’s literally programming to the same crowd that loves MSNBC, oblivious to the fact that there’s only so many far-leftist listeners to go around. 

A quick review of its corporate leadership and you see where the social justice pandering in NPR’s programming comes from, and the selection of Maher, earlier this year, as its CEO. 

Maher is the former CEO of Wikimedia, the nonprofit that runs the online (and increasingly lefty-biased) encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Her main skills seem to be knowing the lefty nonprofit fund­raising circuit, and channeling progressive politics. 

And it’s clearly not working.

Proof of this was laid out in Berliner’s essay, of course, that hit hard at the loss of listeners and the irrelevance of NPR’s reporting.

More proof can be found on NPR’s own website by searching through its audited financial statements. 

NPR isn’t a public company (its revenues come from government grants, member stations buying its programming, and most of all corporate sponsorships).

If it were, it would make a perfect “short sale” with investors wagering its stock will crater as the company’s business evaporates. 

NPRs finances appear to be doing just that. Its most recent audited financials describe the fiscal outlook as follows: “In early 2023, management determined that there would be a significant decline in NPR’s current-year corporate sponsorship revenue due to poor economic conditions, which negatively impacted spending by corporate sponsors. Management believes that the lower levels of corporate spending on sponsorship opportunities will have an impact beyond 2023 given the relative ­uncertainty in the US economy.” 

‘Poor’ excuse 

Poor economic conditions?

Most corporate profits are rising after the 2020 pandemic lockdowns.

What is floundering is NPR’s audience, which is why corporate sponsorship is down. 

What makes NPR’s crisis even more intractable is that Maher appears to be among the least capable people to right this ship.

Instead of sitting down with Berliner, she attacked him and his provably accurate critique in a memo to her staff.

Not smart.

Also not smart: Her hilariously inane and woke public X (formerly Twitter) feed exposed, courtesy of Manhattan Institute ­anti-woke super sleuth Chris Rufo. 

Maher is someone who admitted to having dreams of “sampling and comparing nuts and baklava” with another fatuous wokester, VP Kamala Harris.

She rationalized the violent 2020 George Floyd riots because it’s “hard to be mad about protests not prioritizing the private property of a system of oppression founded on treating people’s ancestors as private property.”

(Tell that to the small-business owners who saw their life’s work sacrificed for the cause.) 

She’s also well-versed in weirdo-woke lingo, stuff like “toxic masculinity” and “cis mobility privilege,” and not surprisingly thinks Donald Trump (and probably anyone who voted for him) is a “deranged racist sociopath.” 

Now she’s running a major media company and balance sheet with (for now) more than a half-billion dollars in assets.


Like I said, NPR isn’t a public company.

But if it were, it would be the next “Big Short.”