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Media Analyses





Updated: NPR Broadcasts Gaza Import Correction


Jan. 9 Update: Following communication from CAMERA, NPR Commenably Broadcasts Correction

Jan. 8 -- While the Associated Press and International Herald Tribune, followed by the Los Angeles Times, were quick to correct erroneous reports last week that Israel has not allowed construction material into the Gaza Strip for four years, National Public Radio has been dragging its feet, making minimal effort to set the story straight. Yesterday, it clarified the online transcript for the problematic Jan. 1 "All Things Considered" broadcast with Audie Cornish and Sheera Frenkel, first noted on our Snapshots blog.
 
Unfortunately, the clarification inserted within the online transcript, shown below, does not set the record straight for millions of "All Things Considered" listeners who do not visit the Web site.
 

Likewise, surfers who listen to the Jan. 1 broadcast online, but do not read the transcript, would still be receiving the incorrect information that Israel had not allowed building material into the Gaza Strip for five years. Moreover, the latest Foreign Dispatch Podcast with foreign desk producer Jonathan Blakley, introduced as "a weekly round up of some of the best coverage of news and events filed by NPR correspondents from around the globe," repeats the error. It is still available for download on NPR's site, with no correction.

We note that, even quite recently, "All Things Considered" has broadcast on-air corrections. First instance, on Dec. 6, Audie Cornish reported: "It's time now for your comments and one quick correction. Earlier this week, some of you heard us say that J.J. Watt could be the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year. What's the problem? Well, Watt is not a rookie. Our apologies."

By what criteria does NPR decide to broadcast a straightforward correction on the air, where the initial error was initially made, versus burying it in an online transcript? On what basis did NPR determine that it's critical to correct on the air a football player's draft year, and yet decide that there is no need to broadcast an on-air correction concerning international affairs? Why is important for listeners to know that Watt is not a rookie (he was last year), but not important that they are accurately informed about Israeli humanitarian actions towards a territory from which it has been facing ongoing rocket fire?
 
CAMERA continues to call on NPR to correct the air on the air. Contact NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos to reiterate the request.
 
In related news, our colleagues at CiF Watch have prompted a correction at the Guardian on a Harriet Sherwood article which had similarly misreported the entry of construction materials into the Gaza Strip.
 
 
Following communication yesterday from CAMERA objecting to NPR's decision not to broadcast a correction, NPR commendably reconsidered, and included a correction in yesterday's broadcast. Listen to the broadcast here, or on NPR's site:

NPR has also promised to include a correction in this Friday's Foreign Dispatch Podcast, and the correction is now linked to the original erroneous broadcast. CAMERA commends NPR for taking these thorough steps to set the record straight.


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