NPR Guidelines Allow Funding from Corporate Criminals

Corporate criminals fund National Public Radio (NPR).

As we reported earlier, ExxonMobil, Lumber Liquidators, Panasonic, Tyson Foods — those are just some of the major corporate donors to NPR that have pled guilty to crimes.

NPR Public Editor Kelly McBride

And then there are many more major corporations on the NPR sponsors list that settle serious criminal charges with the watered down deferred and non prosecution agreements.

Last month, NPR did not respond to inquiries about corporate criminal funding sources.

Now, NPR says it has guidelines for corporate fundraising and those guidelines do not prohibit NPR from taking money from corporate criminals.

“NPR makes decisions about national corporate sponsors based on the principles established by NPR’s board of directors,” said NPR spokesperson Isabel Lara. “Under those principles, there is no list of sources from which funding will automatically be refused. This approach is an important basis of NPR’s impartiality as a news organization. It also results in a diverse pool of funders and further insulates NPR from influence.” 

Diversity now includes corporate criminals?


Lara sends me a copy of the principles.

And there it is:

“All NPR funding sources, including corporate sponsors, are considered under the ‘access’ principle, which means that NPR has no list of sources from which funding will not be accepted.”

We call on NPR’s public editor, Kelly McBride, to weigh in on NPR’s corporate criminal money flow.

McBride refuses saying “I’m the public editor, not the standards editor, so really that’s outside my authority.”

Who is the standards editor?

Gerry Holmes, she says.

NPR Standards Editor Gerry Holmes

Wanted to ask Holmes about the decisions to take money from corporate criminals, that NPR “has no list of sources from which funding will not be accepted.”

This results in a “diverse pool of funders and further insulates NPR from influence.”

How exactly does that work?

Well, first of all, Holmes says he’s not the lone standards editor.

“For the record, I’m sharing the ethics/standards portfolio temporarily with three other newsroom managers,” Holmes writes.

“NPR’s newsroom covers all aspects of the news, regardless of who or what entity is at the center of any of the news stories. There are no limitations on our who or what entity we chose to cover and that goes for any NPR funder. If there is something to report on around any funder, we cover them as we would any other story.”

But how does taking money from corporate criminals result in “a diverse pool of funders and further insulates NPR from influence”?

“I’d like to stick to my main answer,” Holmes writes.

Holmes’ main answer is that NPR’s newsroom covers all aspects of the news. 

What about the covering corporate crime?

A quick Google search finds two mentions of corporate crime from NPR over the past ten years —  an opinion piece by Michelle Martin from July 2011 titled Street Crime v. Corporate Crime: Equally Judged? And then a news item from July 2015 written by Carrie Johnson titled — Justice Department. Hires Compliance Expert In Fight Against Corporate Crime.

What is clear is that NPR, like most major media organizations, doesn’t take corporate crime seriously.

If it did, it would strictly scrutinize the criminal records of its corporate funders and set limits on corporate criminal funding — and then report on corporate crime as the major news story that it is.

Copyright © Corporate Crime Reporter
In Print 48 Weeks A Year

Built on Notes Blog Core
Powered by WordPress