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
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