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Media Analyses





UPDATED: NPR Discovers Terror in the West Bank


Update follows.

National Public Radio, which routinely calls Hamas suicide bombers “militants” or “activists,” rather than terrorists, has finally found some West Bankers it can comfortably refer to with the “T” word. And no, these terrorists are not from Islamic Jihad, or the Al- Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades, or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or the aforementioned Hamas, or any other similarly blood-soaked Palestinian terror groups. Instead, NPR’s new-found practitioners of “terror” are two Jewish settlers who have been accused of “being part of a terror cell that attempted to carry out attacks against Palestinians.” (NPR, July 21, 2003, report by Peter Kenyon – see the full transcript below.)

Of course, NPR’s Palestinian “militants” and activists” are responsible for the deaths of more than a thousand innocent civilians, while these two Jewish settlers are only charged with attempting to attack Palestinians. But such distinctions are a mere quibble at NPR, where Palestinians, literally by definition, are not terrorists, while Israelis are, at best, guilty until proven innocent.

Indeed, exactly this NPR double standard was at work in the same July 21st broadcast. Reporting yet another Palestinian bombing, newscaster Craig Windham informed listeners that:

A Palestinian militant was killed over night in a bomb attack on a military vehicle near the West Bank city of Jenin, according to the Israeli Army.

In fact, the Israeli Army did not refer to a Palestinian militant, it reported that a “terrorist detonated an explosive device [near] an IDF vehicle ... east of Jenin.” But since NPR does not generally consider Palestinian attackers to be terrorists, the network simply changed the Israeli report to suit its own agenda.

The bottom line – when Israel refers to Jews as members of a “terror cell,” NPR is only too happy to use the word, but when at virtually the same time Israel refers to Palestinian terrorists, NPR’s editors immediately spring into action, substituting words like “militant” or “activist,” lest anyone get the wrong idea.

NPR was created to deliver “programming that meets the highest standards of ... journalism,” but when it comes to Israel, the network seems to aim for the lowest standards of journalism, abandoning even the pretense of objectivity. Until that changes, listeners and financial supporters ought to continue abandoning NPR and its local affiliates.


To prevent any of NPR’s predictable evasions, such as that the above quotes were actually paraphrases or were taken out of context, the full transcript of the NPR report is reprinted below (and contrary to NPR’s claim that its Middle East transcripts are available on its website, this is yet another transcript that is omitted from the network’s website):

NPR July 21, 2003

CRAIG WINDHAM: A Palestinian militant was killed over night in a bomb attack on a military vehicle near the West Bank city of Jenin, according to the Israeli Army. Israeli forces also seized an explosive belt near Nablus today. NPR’s Peter Kenyon has more:

KENYON: An Israeli military source said an army patrol came under attack near Jenin shortly before midnight Sunday, when a Palestinian set off a roadside bomb near their vehicle. The army said the Palestinian was killed and the vehicle was damaged but no soldiers were injured. In Nablus soldiers seized and safely detonated a bomb belt containing between 20 and 35 pounds of explosives. Six Palestinians in the area were arrested for questioning.

The incidents came after the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers held their fourth meeting on the latest peace efforts. It produced no new agreements. Meanwhile, an Israeli court revealed that two Jewish settlers now in Israeli custody are suspected of being part of a terror cell that attempted to carry out attacks against Palestinians. Israeli police said they caught members of the group planting a bomb in an East Jerusalem school. Peter Kenyon, NPR news.

UPDATE:  NPR Corrects

In response to calls from CAMERA letter-writers that NPR set the record straight, the network aired the following correction on Aug.13:

We want to correct one story from a few weeks ago. In a broadcast on July 21st, we said that a Palestinian militant had been killed in a bomb attack on an Israeli military vehicle and we attributed this statement to the Israeli army. The official army statement actually used the word terrorist, not militant.

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