Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Media Analyses





UPDATED: NPR's Little Cover-Up


NPR’s Terror Problem, published recently on National Review Online, documented National Public Radio’s refusal to use any form of the word terror in reporting recent murderous attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, despite the network’s regular use of the terror word in reporting the recent al-Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Rather than referring to Hamas and Islamic Jihad as terrorists, NPR instead termed them Palestinian “factions,” perhaps the most neutral word for terrorists one could imagine.

The article also pointed out NPR’s own definition of the word terror, in a styleguide for journalists on the network’s webpage. That definition is incriminating, to say the least, on the question of how NPR reports attacks against Israelis:

terrorism, terrorist — Terrorism is the act of causing terror, usually for political purposes, and it connotes that the terror is perpetrated on innocents. Thus, the bombing of a civilian airliner clearly is a terrorist act, but an attack on an army convoy, even if away from the battlefield, is not. Do not ape government usage. The Israeli government, for instance, routinely refers to PLO actions as terrorist. A journalist should use independent criteria to judge whether the term is accurate. [Emphasis added.]

So, if in NPR’s estimation an attack is not against “innocents,” then it is not terror, suggesting that the network refuses to use the word terror when covering Israel because it does not consider as “innocents” the numerous Israeli civilian victims of, say, suicide bombers. And is it just happenstance that of all the countries in the world, NPR singles out Israel, and instructs that in the case of attacks against Israelis, journalists should be especially wary of using the terror word?

Now, in response to the article, has NPR apologized for failing to report as terror suicide bombings and other bloody attacks against Israelis? Has the network announced that it has changed its policy, and from now on will refer to such attacks as terror? No on both counts.

But let it not be said that NPR’s publicly-funded bureaucrats are afraid to take decisive action. Indeed they have acted decisively – by simply deleting their webpage embarrassment. NPR removed, with no explanation, the entire quite extensive styleguide from their website! Clicking on the address that worked when the NR article was published  (www.npr.org/inside/styleguide2/pugptoz.html) now returns “page not found.”

NPR, which loves to interview and cite Israeli revisionist historians, is apparently not above revising its own history. But unfortunately for those at NPR who tried to erase the damning evidence, the page is still available, though no longer via the Google cache, which mysteriously disappeared after we linked to it. (According to its web site, Google will remove pages from its site upon request from the originating organization.) CAMERA found the NPR style guide elsewhere and, as a service to readers, makes it available here.

Of course, the evidence of NPR’s reckless misreporting of Israel is also available, and without resorting to Google. All it takes is a radio.


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