Facing a $30 million budget shortfall, National Public Radio – otherwise known as NPR – announced layoffs a week ago to the tune of roughly 100 staffers (10 percent of their employees) as well as the cancellation of four of its podcasts. A fifth podcast avoided the chopping block but will see its production and airtime greatly reduced.
Some vacant positions were also cut, while intermittently other employees have been posting on social media that they were leaving.
“We literally are fighting to secure the future of NPR at this very moment by restructuring our cost structure. It’s that important,” the news outlet’s CEO chief John Lansing proclaimed when discussing the decisions during an interview. “It’s existential.”
Understandably, conservatives who have long had legitimate complaints about NPR’s hard-left bias and how that bias is routinely reflected in their partially-taxpayer funded “reporting” would disagree on the “importance” of salvaging the public radio network, which debuted in 1970, three years after “the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).”
But in the aftermath of the news of the layoffs, things appear to have deteriorated even further at the struggling network, with infighting galore reportedly going on and some staffers going full woke during
struggle sessions Zoom calls and employee meetings, worrying more about surface “issues” like the percentage of minorities who were let go than how NPR can get back on track and attract viewers and advertisers again which is, of course, how future layoffs might be able to be avoided:
Among the requests [during an “all-staff gathering”]: employees wanted to see more specific breakdowns around the number or percentage of employees of different races and identities who were laid off, rather than those of the remaining employees. They also wanted to know more information about their audiences, what the plans would be for hiring a chief content officer and more clarity about how the layoffs were carried out.
But the already tense environment boiled over during an exchange between CEO Lansing and a laid-off Black employee. That employee voiced concern that some podcasts hadn’t received marketing support and wondered how a show could gain audience without it. This person also listed executives’ names and repeated statements they had made in the past, asking for more accountability.
The individual then asked how NPR would make diversity work essential. Lansing replied that all the organization’s programming should be relevant to all of America — a stated mission for NPR
After replying, he then added that the group needed to “turn down the rhetoric” and not call executives out by name in an all-hands with hundreds of attendees.
This statement was repeated later on during the meeting and it … did not go over well, according to Bloomberg News:
[Fauxfended employees] immediately took to Zoom and called Lansing’s response “racist” and out-of-line. Another staff member dropped a link to a segment from NPR’s Code Switch titled, “When Civility Is Used As A Cudgel Against People Of Color.”
NPR blames its financial problems in part on advertising slowdowns in the Biden economy, something that has been felt across the board on many media platforms.
But I can’t help but wonder if a sharp drop in viewership along with growing distrust in the media as an institution in general has also played a role in NPR’s woes. Or, as conservatives call it, “go woke, go broke.”
I mean, after all, news outlets can only insult someone’s intelligence so much before those readers and viewers – including critics who still occasionally watch and read them – say enough’s enough and tune in elsewhere.
NPR’s viewership heavily declined during the pandemic, and from the looks of things it hasn’t come back.
Instead of obsessing over wokeness and anti-American programming, perhaps NPR should look take a long, hard look in the mirror and do some deeper soul-searching along the way. Because they might at long last see what the rest of us do, and finally realize what kind of changes they really should be making in their programming – starting with the “deprogramming” of their remaining staff members before it’s too late.
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