National Public Radio reporters may not be fair or balanced
when it comes to covering the Middle East, they may not be paragons of
accuracy, or exemplars of journalistic ethics, but say this much for them
they are consistent. When it comes to putting forth a pro-Palestinian
line, day in and day out, they have no equals in the United States.
On the morning of July 27, for example, there were two
Middle East stories for NPR to cover:
Palestinian gunmen shot and killed a seventeen-year-old
Israeli boy named Ronen Landau as he was driving home with his father and
brother. Just before this attack the same gunmen had shot at Israeli children
in a playground.
The funeral of Saleh Darwazeh, a senior Hamas operative
who had been killed by Israeli troops. Darwazeh had engineered numerous fatal
attacks against Israelis.
Which story did NPR emphasize, which person did the
publicly-funded network humanize with details and names and interviews? In an
1141 word story, NPR devoted exactly 26 words to the murder of the Israeli boy
in front of his father and brother, not even bothering to mention his name:
shelled Palestinian security posts in the West Bank early today after
Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli teenager at the entrance to a Jewish
The rest of the story all 1115 words were
devoted to Saleh Darwazeh, who was described as an activist, and
his cause. The Governor of Nablus, Mahmoud Aloul, was quoted by reporter Linda
Gradstein as saying They are killing our children everyday, so we have no
choice but to resist and to struggle.
Hassan Ayoub, described as a Palestinian
activist from Nablus (listeners could only guess at Ayoubs
activities), tells Gradstein:
This is an act of
aggression that produces more anger and more demands to take revenge for the
people who have been killed by Israeli forces.
The NPR reporter then helpfully describes to listeners the
Israeli siege of Nablus:
A trip between
Jerusalem and Nablus used to take just over an hour, but now only Jewish
settlers are allowed to travel on the main road. Palestinians must take a long
detour on a winding road through the Jordan valley, almost triple the distance.
They must also pass several Israeli roadblocks, often waiting for hours at each
one. Israeli troops have also sealed off more than a dozen villages near
Of course, Gradstein is wrong its not just
Jewish settlers who can travel on the main road, its anyone
with an Israeli license plate, including Israeli Arabs. And while Palestinians
might be inconvenienced by having to take a detour, many Israelis must also
take long detours as they attempt to avoid deadly Palestinian ambushes. Like
the Palestinian ambush that killed Ronen Landau, which NPR barely reported.
Gradstein also never mentions that had the Palestinians not
started a virtual war against Israel, there would be no detours, not for
Israelis and not for Palestinians. Gradstein interviewed no Israelis in her
report who might have articulated all this, she interviewed no Israelis who
might have explained why the Hamas leader, Saleh Darwazeh, was
targeted. Instead she offered an entirely Palestinian view.
In contrast, when Gradstein covered the suicide bombing of
the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem on August 9, which killed 15 Israelis
including 7 children, she first interviewed Israelis, but then gave the last
word to Yasser Abed Rabbo, the Palestinian Information Minister. Rabbo blamed
the bombing not on Hamas, which sent the bomber, and not on Arafat, who refuses
to arrest the bomb makers and even collaborates with them, but on Israels
It is the
responsibility of Mr. Sharon. He provoked it. He wanted it and he waited for
it. His policy depends on avoiding any possibility of the resumption of peace
NPRs tax supported bias is an affront to journalism,
and an insult to the taxpayers who are forced to subsidize it. Until NPR begins
to report accurately and fairly, it certainly does not deserve subsidies or
charitable gifts. Neither do the local public radio stations that broadcast its