NPR asked its leading political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News, where she is a paid contributor, Politico's Josh Gerstein reports.
Gerstein reports that "Liasson was summoned in early October by NPR's executive editor for news, Dick Meyer, and the network's supervising senior Washington editor, Ron Elving" about concerns they had over Fox News' programming and its changes since President Obama had taken office. They asked her to spend 30 days watching the network; she obliged, and "reported that she'd seen no significant change in Fox's programming," Gerstein reports.
The timing of NPR's request coincided with the White House's battle against the network.
An NPR spokesperson refused to comment specifically about Liasson, telling Politico, "As part of our ongoing work we have internal conversations about talent appearances all the time that are part of our regular editorial evaluation." The spokesperson added, "There's no relationship between the White House's criticism of Fox and any discussions about Fox that we're having."
A Fox News spokesperson said, "With the ratings we have, NPR should be paying us to even be mentioned on our air."
This is not the first time NPR has worried about its association with Fox News.
Earlier this year, the radio network asked Fox News not to label Juan Williams as an NPR contributor when he appeared on the network after listener outrage over William's comments about Michelle Obama. At the time, a Fox News spokesperson made a similar statement, saying, "We were actually doing NPR a favor by even plugging them but we have no problem dropping the mention on the chyron along with their exposure to millions of O'Reilly Factor viewers."