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Media Analyses

PRESS RELEASE: CAMERA Calls on NPR to Fire Foreign Editor Loren Jenkins

BOSTON — Charging National Public Radio with profound anti-Israel bias, CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, today urged NPR to remove Foreign Editor Loren Jenkins from his key role in the prominent network's coverage of the Middle East. According to CAMERA, Jenkins has a long record of partisanship in favor of Palestinian views and his tenure at NPR has seen a worsening of the network's bias.

CAMERA Executive Director Andrea Levin noted that Jenkins' own views as expressed in public statements and in print indicate a distinct tilt. He has referred to Israel as a "colonizer" and has linked Israel to Nazis in his writing.

"Jenkins seems determined to use NPR as a vehicle for his agenda," said Levin. "There are definitely others at the network who share his views, but his position makes him especially influential in defining the topics and determining the balance. It's time to show the public that a taxpayer-supported network takes seriously basic journalistic standards as well as the requirement under which it receives funds."

Levin cited the Federal Statute that applies to the distribution of tax dollars through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). "Recipients of funding are required to maintain ‘strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature,'" she said.

CAMERA has repeatedly documented a lack of balance and a disproportionate focus by the network on perspectives and concerns of Palestinians. A study of NPR coverage during two months in late 2000 found strikingly less air time afforded to Israeli speakers, and many programs excluded Israeli voices entirely.

An updated survey of the coverage in a six-day period from March 27 through April 2, 2002 underscored continuing imbalance and bias. In the 57 segments evaluated, CAMERA found 16 Israeli speakers, 43 Arab speakers, 21 neutral commentators (including numerous journalists often critical of Israel and left-leaning analysts critical of Israel) and 6 pro-Arab speakers.

Despite the unprecedented terrorist attacks in this period, the killing of 54 Jews and the wounding of hundreds more, NPR did not name a single victim, nor did the network do a single human interest story on a victim or a bereaved family.

NPR did do a lengthy human interest story, Levin noted, on a Palestinian woman who said she had, a month earlier, lost a baby because of delays at a checkpoint. The piece, which was sharply critical of Israel, focused on the emotional story of the mother and gave only brief opportunity for Israeli response.

CAMERA termed the skewed coverage "professionally indefensible" and said accountability should start now with removing NPR's Foreign Editor.

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