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Media Analyses





Updated: NPR Refuses to Correct House Demolition Error


In a report aired on Morning Edition (December 13, 2004) discussing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Peter Kenyon made the following erroneous statement:

But negotiation is a two-way street and under the Road Map, Israelis were supposed to cease measures, such as the demolition of Palestinian homes–either to facilitate Israeli construction or as retaliation for Palestinian violence. [emphasis added]

The clear implication is that Israel demolishes Palestinian homes to make way for Israeli homes — something which has never occurred. Not even Palestinians have made such an accusation.

CAMERA contacted NPR about the error, urging an immediate on-air correction be made unless the reporter can provide documentation of his allegation. NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin responded promptly with Mr. Kenyon's justification of his remark.  Kenyon claimed that he was just relying on the Road Map's language cautioning Israel to 

tak[e] no actions undermining trust, including deportations, attacks on civilians; confiscation and/or demolition of Palestiniain homes and property, as a punitive measure or to facilitate Israeli construction; destruction of Palestinian institutions and infrastructure; and other measures specified in the Tenet work plan.

CAMERA pointed out that where the Road Map merely cautioned Israel  not to take "actions undermining trust ...including confiscation and/or demolition of Palestinian homes and property, as a punitive measure or to facilitate Israeli construction," Mr. Kenyon  stated that "Israelis were supposed to cease measures, such as the demolition of Palestinian homes... to facilitate Israeli construction...", suggesting that Israelis were already doing this. 

Since Israelis have never demolished Palestinian homes to make way for Israeli construction, Mr. Kenyon's small turn of phrase makes a large difference in its erroneous implication. His "explanation" only compounds the original error.

On December 21 CAMERA received the following negative response from NPR Vice President for News and Information, Bruce Drake:

We have reviewed your comments on our original response, and we stand by that original response.

CAMERA calls upon the Vice President for News and Information to either substantiate NPR's December 13 news broadcast by providing specific examples of Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes to facilitate Israeli construction or forthrightly and publicly correct the error.


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