NPR Ombudsman: Criticism of Soros grant not confined to right-wing partisans

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Outgoing NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard reviews the network’s decision to accept an $1.8 million grant from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations last fall — a judgement call that, in the view of unnamed NPR journalists, put the news organization’s credibility as an impartial, trusted news source at risk. “[A] deep current of concern has run through the newsroom about taking money from someone with a well-known, documented political agenda supporting Democrats and Democratic causes,” Shepard writes. The two-year grant supports a worthy cause — launch of the accountability journalism project Impact of Government — but unwittingly opened NPR up to attacks from right-wing partisans. Shepard advises NPR to hurry up and announce additional funding for the project. “The sooner NPR can provide a varied list of funders . . . , the quicker valid concerns about perceptions and reality will diminish – if not go away.”

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