National Public Radio executives appear to be pressuring one of their top political correspondents to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they’ve told her is the network’s right-wing political bias, Politico reports.
According to two unidentified sources, correspondent Mara Liasson was summoned in early October by NPR’s executive editor for news, Dick Meyer, and a Washington editor to a meeting to discuss quitting Fox. They reportedly told Liasson that Fox’s programming had grown more partisan.
They asked Liasson to spend 30 days watching the network.
But Liasson told them in a follow-up meeting that she’d seen no significant change in Fox’s programming and planned to continue appearing on the network, Politico reported.
Politico noted that NPR’s focus on Liasson’s work as a commentator on Fox’s “Special Report” and “Fox News Sunday” came at about the same time as a White House campaign launched in September to “delegitimize the network by painting it as an extension of the Republican Party.”
Liasson defended her work for Fox, the Politico story states. She told her bosses that she appears on two of the network’s news programs, not on commentary programs with conservative hosts. Liasson is under contract to Fox, and she’s told NPR that it would be difficult for her to sever her ties with the network. She has appeared on Fox for more than a decade.
In an e-mail message, Liasson declined to be interviewed for the article. NPR’s spokeswoman Dana Rehm, declined to discuss Liasson and her work on Fox with Politico.
“It isn’t our practice to comment about internal conversations or about personnel matters, and we’re not going to be changing that policy,” she said. “As part of our ongoing work we have internal conversations about talent appearances all the time that are part of our regular editorial evaluation.”
Rehm added, “There’s no relationship between the White House’s criticism of Fox and any discussions about Fox that we’re having.”
A Fox spokesperson declined to comment on specific questions about Liasson. However, the spokesperson, who asked not to be named, said in an email to Politico: “With the ratings we have, NPR should be paying us to even be mentioned on our air.”
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