Bradley Klapper of AP reports that a group the White House recently identified as a key surrogate in selling the Iran nuclear deal gave National Public Radio $100,000 last year to help it report on the pact and related issues. The group, Ploughshares, has funded NPR’s coverage of national security to the tune of at least $700,000 since 2005. All grant descriptions since 2010 specifically mention Iran.
As the White House says, Ploughshares was aggressively and effectively pro-Iran nuke deal. It boasts of helping to secure the deal, citing its “absolutely critical role” as part of “civil society” in “tipping the scales towards this extraordinary policy victory.”
NPR claims that its coverage was not affected by Ploughshares’ pro-nuke deal agenda. “As with all support received, we have a rigorous editorial firewall process in place to ensure our coverage is independent and is not influenced by funders or special interests,” NPR asserts.
However, Rep. Mike Pompeo, the leading House critic of the Iran deal, says he repeatedly asked NPR to be interviewed last year as a counterweight to a Democratic supporter of the agreement, Rep. Adam Schiff who, he states, regularly appeared on NPR. But NPR refused to put Pompeo on the air.
Meanwhile, Joseph Cirincione, Ploughshares’ president, spoke about the negotiations on air at least twice last year. According to AP, the station identified Ploughshares as an NPR funder one of those times; the other time, it didn’t.
If NPR refused to put Pompeo on the air, then its claim not to have been influenced by Ploughshares’ money is difficult to accept. Indeed, the claim is implausible in any case, unless one assumes that NRP is so biased in favor placating Iran that it would have slanted its coverage even absent the funding.