April 11, 2024

NPR editor says outlet was misled by Adam Schiff on Trump Russiagate narrative

A senior editor at NPR for 25 years has admitted that the outlet was misled by Adam Schiff on the Trump Russiagate narrative during the Robert Mueller investigation and didn't take responsibility for the mistake after the Mueller report found the narrative false.

Uri Berliner, writing in The Free Press, used the Schiff example as one of several failures by NPR to deliver truth to its audience, which he says began when the outlet started "telling people what to think" instead of reporting facts without a biased agenda.

NPR started actively looking for ways to "topple" Trump after the 2016 election, and that bias led to the misinformation, Berliner said.

"Schiff, who was the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, became NPR’s guiding hand, its ever-present muse," Berliner wrote. "By my count, NPR hosts interviewed Schiff 25 times about Trump and Russia. During many of those conversations, Schiff alluded to purported evidence of collusion. The Schiff talking points became the drumbeat of NPR news reports."

Even more

Fox Digital corrected Berliner, citing 32 interviews with Schiff about Russiagate between 2016 and 2019 and including links to every one.

Schiff consistently said the House Intelligence Committee, which he headed or was top Democrat in at the time, had solid evidence of Trump's collusion with Russia, but much of what he talked about turned out to be fabricated or untrue.

"We have seen ample evidence of collusion very much in the public eye," he said in 2019 just before the Mueller Report said the opposite.

Schiff was censured by the House after it turned Republican for "misleading the American public" during Russiagate.

He dismissed it as a "badge of honor" and politically motivated.

Trust shattered

Berliner blasted his own outlet for how it handled the story and the lack of responsibility when it discovered Schiff had lied.

"It is one thing to swing and miss on a major story. Unfortunately, it happens. You follow the wrong leads, you get misled by sources you trusted, you’re emotionally invested in a narrative, and bits of circumstantial evidence never add up. It’s bad to blow a big story," he wrote. "What’s worse is to pretend it never happened, to move on with no mea culpas, no self-reflection. Especially when you expect high standards of transparency from public figures and institutions, but don’t practice those standards yourself. That’s what shatters trust and engenders cynicism about the media."

Berliner also criticized NPR's coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop affair; the COVID-19 lab leak theory; and the aftermath of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel.

While Berliner's acknowledgment is a step in the right direction for journalists, NPR did not agree with his conclusions.

When Fox Digital asked it for comment about Berliner's piece, it referred that outlet back to an internal memo that defended its integrity and pushed back on Berliner's accusations.

At least, maybe the next time Schiff opens his mouth, news outlets will be more skeptical of his narrative, which has proven to be biased, overblown, and just plain false.

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