UPDATE – Mar. 22: CAMERA attempted further communication with NPR concerning the fictitious report of Jewish gangs harrassing Muslim girls. NPR has not responded back despite several e-mails and a phone call. It appears that NPR is not going to correct the mistaken news report by Eleanor Beardsley. This precedent raises the question of how many other news reports provided by NPR are inventions.
UPDATE – Feb. 26: Alicia Shepard, NPR ombudsman, sent an e-mail that included four articles on anti-Muslim activity in France. However, none of the articles contained any mention of Jewish gangs harassing Muslim girls. At this point, it appears conclusive that NPR’s report was erroneous. CAMERA urges NPR to correct Beardsley’s erroneous report and also urges NPR to fully cover the realities of Muslim violence against Jews in France.
UPDATE – Feb. 23 : CAMERA received a call from Alicia Shepard, NPR ombudsman, on Feb. 23. Ms. Shepard indicated that she had contacted the journalist, Ms. Beardsley requesting documentation of the news story. Ms Shepard said she would send CAMERA this documentation.
Did National Public Radio (NPR) fabricate a story about a Jewish gang harrassing two Muslim girls in Paris? On January 26, 2009, Morning Edition ran a feature story on how the violence in Gaza had inflamed Jewish-Muslim relations in France (Gaza Fighting Reverberates in France). In the segment, correspondent Eleanor Beardsley discussed how the fighting has increased tension between the Muslim and Jewish communities and led to an increasing incidence of attacks against Jews. In what appeared to be an attempt to show that the violence was not all in one direction — i.e. Muslims attacking Jews — Beardsley adds, “And in Paris, two Muslim girls were harassed by a Jewish gang.”
CAMERA searched the internet and Lexis-Nexis, its newspaper article search service, but could not find any mention of this incident by anyone other than NPR. CAMERA then contacted National Public Radio asking for the source of the story on Feb. 6.
Following a second inquiry on Feb. 11, CAMERA immediately received three separate responses from NPR.
1) Morning Edition sent an email stating
Dear Mr. Stotsky,We are checking with our reporter who filed this piece.
2) A second email from Alan at NPR services left a phone number, 202-513-3232. When CAMERA tried this number, a recorded message suggested writing to the show in question and also indicated that no one would answer the call.
3) A third email from the Ombudsman’s office read:
Thank you for contacting the Office of the
at National Public Radio. Ombudsman
Every message is read by ombudsman Alicia Shepard and her staff. It is then forwarded to the appropriate journalist or manager. If a reply is appropriate, you will hear from us shortly…
This note also left a telephone number, (202) 513-3245, which CAMERA called and left a message on February 18, requesting a response to our inquiry.
As of the date of this article, CAMERA has not received any information from NPR on the source of the story. Repeated internet searches have not yielded any other mention of the alleged incident. While CAMERA hopes that NPR will reply to our inquiry with information to back up Beardsley’s account, at this time, we can only surmise that the story was an invention.