The newly named CEO of state-affiliated NPR has absorbed a brief frenzy of criticism over woke social media posts she made decrying systemic racism in America. But Katherine Maher’s working relationship with powerful entities striving to censor the internet in the name of fighting “disinformation” is the real red flag – and it bears some scrutiny as she ascends to the executive chair at the taxpayer-funded media outlet.
“National Public Radio’s new CEO Katherine Maher appeared to have scrubbed her social media of hyper-partisan, left-leaning posts before rising to the helm of the government-backed news network,” The New York Post reported January 25. One of the posts remaining on her X account tells you all you need to know about the former Wikimedia Foundation CEO’s racial grievance fixations.
“I mean, sure, looting is counterproductive,” Maher posted on what was then still known as Twitter on May 25, 2020 as looters ran amok in Los Angeles retail stores. “But it’s hard to be mad about protests not prioritizing the private property of a system of oppression founded on treating people’s ancestors as private property.”
Well, it’s not as if a staunch conservative was ever going to score the NPR gig anyway. Far more concerning is Maher’s long track record of promoting online censorship and who this powerful information executive has teamed up with as she pursues her agenda.
‘Democratizing Power of the Internet’ Is a Threat
Maher sits on the Board of Directors for the Center for Democracy & Technology, an organization that bills itself as “the leading nonpartisan, nonprofit organization fighting to advance civil rights and civil liberties in the digital age.”
A list of the group’s “Mission & Principles” immediately highlights the contradictory nature of that stated goal. Principle 3 pledges to work to “[c]urtail government censorship and enable all people to access and share information of their choosing without harassment or undue interference.” But this bumps up directly against Principle 1, which is to “[c]hampion policies, laws, and technical designs that empower people to use technology for good while protecting against invasive, discriminatory, and exploitative uses.”
In other words, the Center is willing to grant internet users freedom of expression, but only when it is used in ways deemed acceptable.
Cue the “disinformation” bogeyman.
Under an “Area of Focus” section on the Center’s website, titled “Elections & Democracy,” one finds the following turgid prose presented as fact rather than opinion:
“The 2020 election was considered the most secure election in American history, but this work must continue to ensure an accessible and secure vote.
“At the same time, American elections are facing a new crisis of trust, precipitated by the onslaught of disinformation about how elections are administered. Disinformation and misinformation have also been used to suppress voter participation, particularly targeting communities of color. The democratizing power of the internet creates new opportunities – but also new challenges – for supporting fair, informed, and trustworthy elections.”
If that is not forthright enough, allow us to share a September 2022 event hosted by the Center curtly labeled “The Big Lie’s Long Tail: Election Denialism in the Midterms and Beyond.”
“The ‘Big Lie,’ the denial that the 2020 election outcome was legitimate, continues to have ongoing, harmful effects on American democracy,” the opening text describing the event reads. “Election-related misinformation has spread like wildfire online, helping to fuel the passage of new state laws that restrict voting rights.”
It doesn’t sound very “nonpartisan” or evince a desire to allow “all people to access and share information of their choosing without undue interference,” does it?
Big Tech Should Be More Like Wiki?
In fact, there’s nothing very neutral about the Center. Obama administration alum Philippa Scarlett serves on its Board alongside new NPR chief Maher. Advisory Council members at the organization include Lara Flint of the stridently leftist Democracy Fund, Hina Shamsi of the ACLU and Rose Jackson of the globalist think tank the Atlantic Council.
Executives from Big Tech behemoths Amazon, Apple, Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft are also represented on either the Board or the Advisory Council.
All these people working together to combat “disinformation” that dares question ruling progressive establishment narratives. Isn’t that cause for alarm?
In June 2021, Maher sat down with notorious NBC News “misinformation, extremism and the Internet” “senior reporter” Brandy Zadrozny for an Atlantic Council event hilariously titled “Katherine Maher on How Big Tech Can Be as Trusted as Wikipedia.”
As Liberty Nation has noted, NBC News makes it a regular practice to farm out its ostensibly unbiased news personnel to host events at internationalist think tanks. It openly boasts of its partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Security Forum.
At the Atlantic Council affair, Zadrozny and Maher had the following eye-opening exchange:
Zadrozny: “I want to frame things with the frame of rights for a second. Because I think we hear a lot about freedom and rights right now, and particularly that debate has been framed – at least in the States and in Western countries – around the freedom of speech, right, and expression online. It revolves around whether moderation of speech or algorithmic amplification or quieting violates a person’s freedom. And Wikipedia isn’t immune to that debate, right? In its own ways, it amplifies voices and points of view at the exclusion of others.”
Maher: “Yeah. It is a very complicated conversation, certainly more so than we started having it maybe 15, 20 years ago. I think that what we look at with Wikipedia is that it is a very different platform. It is a purpose-driven platform rather than an expression platform….
“So in the context of Wikipedia, for example, we think a lot about the right to knowledge as being just as important as the right to expression. Wikipedia isn’t a free expression platform. It really is about creating content that people can have confidence in, that they can use to make determinations in their lives, and so that right to have access to high-integrity content often sort of trumps the right to speech.”
There’s certainly nothing wrong with Wikimedia exerting editorial control over the content it publishes, although its reputation has been affected accordingly. But keep in mind that Zadrozny was asking a far broader question at an event specifically stated to be about making Big Tech more like Wikipedia.
Now extrapolate Maher’s reply to her efforts to combat “disinformation” throughout the Internet. “The right to knowledge” is used to declare that “high-integrity content” – as determined by the exalted members of the Atlantic Council and the Center for Democracy & Technology – “trumps the right to speech.”
What NPR Is Getting
This is the heart of the online censorship control apparatus; Big Media, Big Tech, and well-heeled establishment think tanks are all conniving together to help drive it.
“Donald Trump is a racist,” read one of the social media posts reportedly deleted by Maher after her hiring by NPR. That she would post such an inflammatory message is indicative of her partisan political leanings. Far more disturbing, however, are her attempts to keep other Americans from expressing themselves in an equally provocative manner because her and her fellow credentialed elites deem their personal views to be “discriminatory” or “exploitative.”