NPR CEO: ‘We Get a Tremendous Amount of Criticism for Being Too Conservative'

By Nicholas Ballasy | March 8, 2011 | 4:01 AM EST

President and CEO of National Public Radio (NPR) Vivian Schiller

( - National Public Radio President and CEO Vivian Schiller said Monday that NPR gets a “tremendous amount of criticism for being too conservative.”

At a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Schiller was asked by a moderator: “Do you believe there’s an imbalance at NPR in terms of liberals and conservatives in the newsroom--I think I know which side they’d like to have better represented there--if the answer is yes, what do you propose to do about it?”

Schiller said, “You know, every news organization--I’ve worked now with three news organizations, but even every other, people I know from every other news organization I know--gets criticized about being too liberal, about being too conservative, about being too this, that and the other. It comes with the territory.

“So, certainly we do get criticized about all manner of things,” said Schiller. “In terms of the liberal, and I will tell you that it maybe doesn’t get as much attention, but we get a tremendous amount of criticism for being too conservative as well. I wish that those folks could be in our editorial meetings and see what goes on and the care that our reporters and our journalists and other editors take to get it right.

“This is an incredibly crucial cornerstone of what we do to present, not journalism that is ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’--that’s not very interesting story-telling,” she said. “But journalism that reflects no particular bias. And it’s not just a matter of how the stories are told, it’s the kind of stories that we tell on NPR.”

She continued, “For those that do criticize us for being liberal, I ask them, when I get that personally, I ask them to point to specific stories. And when they do, we take those very seriously. Have we erred? Absolutely, we have erred in the past, but we make corrections, and we always strive to do better.”