Corporation for Public Broadcasting Fails in Oversight of National Public Radio; CAMERA Proposes Reform in Agency's Monitoring of Tax Recipients Washingon, D.C.
(September 28) — National Public Radio (NPR) coverage of Arab-Israeli news continues to violate federal law requiring “strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature,” CAMERA Washington Director Eric Rozenman has told board members of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
NPR receives federal funds through CPB. The corporation is required to monitor recipients’ compliance with objectivity and balance mandates, Rozenman reminded board members at their quarterly meeting last week. “CAMERA has documented in studies over extended periods and in analyses of incidental coverage that NPR ... continues to display an established pattern of anti-Israeli, pro-Arab bias,” he stressed.
U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) also criticized NPR's Middle East reporting. Sherman noted that he, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and nine other members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to NPR President Kevin Klose last year after a series of unsuccessful meetings. They reiterated that “for many years, National Public Radio programs have presented a view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is too often biased against Israel.”
According to the Sherman-Engel letter, “despite concerns raised over the years by listeners, members of NPR affiliate stations, and members of Congress, NPR coverage of the Middle East – to our ears and to the ears of many of our constituents – still exhibits a slanted perspective on the conflict.”
Rozenman informed CPB board members that their annual “Open to the Public” report to Congress reviewing oversight of recipients “is inadequate. It avoids the substance of CAMERA's criticism and numerous other complaints.” CAMERA recommended that the board create a unit within CPB to respond promptly to substantive complaints, according to accepted journalistic criteria like those in the Code of Ethics of the Society for Professional Journalists. He said these responses, "rather than vague generalities," should be reported to Congress.
Prior to the public forum, CAMERA provided all eight CPB board members with extensive documentation of its criticisms of NPR's Arab-Israeli coverage.
Sherman noted that it was unusual for a member of Congress to address the CPB board, but Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson thanked him for his “extraordinary presentation,” adding, “I associate myself with it.”
The Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America is a national, non-profit organization with more than 50,000 members. It monitors major news media coverage of the Middle East for accuracy, objectivity, context, and comprehensiveness.
For complete CAMERA statement by Washington Director Eric Rozenman, please click here.