Katherine Maher has a golden résumé, with stints and affiliations at UNICEF, the Atlantic Council, the World Economic Forum, the State Department, Stanford University, and the Council on Foreign Relations. She was chief executive officer and executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. And, as of last month, she is CEO of National Public Radio.

Mere weeks into this new role, Maher has stepped into controversy. Long-time NPR senior editor Uri Berliner published a scathing indictment of the self-professed “public” media service’s ideological capture. Rather than address the substance of these criticisms—which will ring true to anyone who has listened to NPR over the past decade—Maher punished Berliner with a five-day unpaid suspension. (Berliner announced his resignation from NPR earlier today.)

But Maher has another problem: her archive of 29,400 tweets.

I have spent the past few days exploring Maher’s prolific history on social media, which she seems to have used as a private diary, narrating her every thought, emotion, meeting, and political opinion in real-time. This archive is a collection of her statements, but at a deeper level, it provides a window into the soul of a uniquely American archetype: the affluent, white, female liberal—many of whom now sit atop our elite institutions.

What you notice first about Maher’s public speech are the buzzwords and phrases: “structural privilege,” “epistemic emergency,” “transit justice,” “non-binary people,” “late-stage capitalism,” “cis white mobility privilege,” “the politics of representation,” “folx.” She supported Black Lives Matter from its earliest days. She compares driving cars with smoking cigarettes. She is very concerned about “toxic masculinity.”

On every topic, Maher adopts the fashionable language of left-wing academic theory and uses it as social currency, even when her efforts veer into self-parody. She never explains, never provides new interpretation—she just repeats the phrases, in search of affirmation and, when the time is right, a promotion.

Maher understands the game: America’s elite institutions reward loyalty to the narrative. Those who repeat the words move up; those who don’t move out.

Next, you notice the partisanship. Maher was “excited” about Elizabeth Warren in 2012. She “just [couldn’t] wait to vote” for Hillary in 2016. She once had a dream about “sampling and comparing nuts and baklava on roadside stands” with Kamala Harris. She worked to “get out the vote” in Arizona for Joe Biden but slightly resented being called a “Biden supporter”; for her, it was simply a matter of being a “supporter of human rights, dignity, and justice.”

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a “deranged racist sociopath.”

If you read Maher’s tweets closely, you also get glimpses of the human being. She spent much of her time in airports, taxis, meetings, and conferences. She expressed anger over the fact that most first-class flyers were white men, then noted that she went straight “to the back of the bus.” In her thirties, unmarried and without children, she felt the need to explain that “the planet is literally burning” and that she could not, in good conscience, “bring a child into a warming world.”

Behind the frenetic activity and the moral posturing, you wonder. Maher once posted her daily routine, which involved yoga, iced coffee, back-to-back meetings, and Zoom-based psychotherapy. She resented being served maternity advertisements on Instagram, she said. She was not “currently in the market for a baby” and would not be “tending her ovaries” according to the dictates of American capitalism. 

Americans, even CEOs, are entitled to their opinions and to their own life decisions, of course. But the personal and psychological elements that suffuse Maher’s public persona seem to lead to political conclusions that are, certainly, worthy of public criticism.

The most troubling of these conclusions is her support for radically narrowing the range of acceptable opinions. In 2020, she argued that the New York Times should not have published Senator Tom Cotton’s op-ed, “Send in the Troops,” during the George Floyd riots. In 2021, she celebrated the banishment of then-president Donald Trump from social media, writing: “Must be satisfying to deplatform fascists. Even more satisfying? Not platforming them in the first place.”

As CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation, Maher made censorship a critical part of her policy, under the guise of fighting “disinformation.” In a speech to the Atlantic Council, an organization with extensive ties to U.S. intelligence services, she explained that she “took a very active approach to disinformation,” coordinated censorship “through conversations with government,” and suppressed dissenting opinions related to the pandemic and the 2020 election.

In that same speech, Maher said that, in relation to the fight against disinformation, the “the number one challenge here that we see is, of course, the First Amendment in the United States.” These speech protections, Maher continued, make it “a little bit tricky” to suppress “bad information” and “the influence peddlers who have made a real market economy around it.”

Maher’s general policy at Wikipedia, she tweeted, was to support efforts to “eliminate racist, misogynist, transphobic, and other forms of discriminatory content”—which, under current left-wing definitions, could include almost anything to the right of Joe Biden.

The new CEO of NPR, then, is a left-wing ideologue who supports wide-scale censorship and considers the First Amendment an impediment to her campaign to sanitize the world of wrong opinions.

Maher is no aberration. She is part of a rising cohort of affluent, left-wing, female managers who dominate the departments of university administration, human resources, and DEI. They are the matriarchs of the American Longhouse: they value safety over liberty, censorship over debate, and relativism over truth.

Each social gambit is designed for smothering the institution in ideology. Maher says that she knows “that hysteric white woman voice.” She has “done it.” And while she might not be proud of it—she is aware that she has “a big fat privilege pass”—she is willing to do what it takes to move the dictates of conventional left-wing opinion into a position of domination.

It didn’t begin at NPR, and it won’t end there.

Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile for Web Summit Qatar via Getty Images


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