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Media Analyses





PRESS RELEASE: New CAMERA Study Blasts NPR Bias


BOSTON—Citing its new, in-depth study of National Public Radio’s coverage of events in Israel and the Palestinian territories, CAMERA has renewed its denunciation of the network for skewed and inaccurate reporting. Entitled “A Record of Bias, National Public Radio’s Coverage of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, September 26–November 26, 2000," the analysis traces reporting during the first two months of the recent violence.

Terming NPR’s coverage “a genuine scandal that violates the basic precepts of responsible journalism, as well as statutes that govern disbursement of funds by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,” CAMERA Executive Director Andrea Levin called for public and Congressional examination of NPR’s reporting on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“Those responsible have to finally be held accountable,” she said, “the reporters, the editors, the producers – all the way up to the President. The network is broadcasting outright misinformation and bias to listeners. It’s gone on for years and it’s time for it to stop.”

Levin said network coverage regularly minimizes or omits Palestinian incitement and aggression, while blaming Israel for the violence and repeating Palestinian grievances without question. The study found egregious uncorrected error as well as sharply disproportionate time allotted to Arab/Palestinian or pro-Arab speakers.

In addition, according to CAMERA, during the period of the study NPR reporters used language that was inflammatory and prejudicial to Israel. One correspondent, for example, said Israel is creating “Bantustans” in the West Bank and she characterized the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo as “a settlement built in occupied east Jerusalem.”

Whereas Palestinian rioters were said by NPR to “lob stones at an Israeli military outpost,” Jewish rioters were described as engaging in “mob-style aggression.” Whereas Ariel Sharon was labeled “hard-line” or “right-wing” more than twenty times, in addition to being attacked repeatedly in entirely one-sided programs, Palestinian Marwan Barghouti, orchestrator of violence that has caused death and suffering for both sides, was called the “main organizer of the street protests.” Sheik Ahmed Yasin, a leader of Hamas, a group responsible for numerous terrorist attacks killing Israelis, was called simply “a spiritual leader.”

Levin noted that NPR frequently airs programs entirely omitting Israeli or pro-Israeli voices. “In many of these, Israel is subjected to unsubstantiated and false charges without any opportunity to respond. In one, a speaker who campaigns regularly for the so-called ?right of return’ of all Palestinians to Israel and who advocates the dissolution of the country as a Jewish state, was given an uninterrupted, unchallenged monologue to present her views.”

Levin noted that in the past National Public Radio attempted to deflect numerous substantive complaints from CAMERA by claiming the media-monitoring group had raised only occasional objections to the network’s voluminous coverage. While CAMERA rejected that false assertion, noting the extensive record of complaints submitted, the group made clear that the new study should put to rest any questions about the gravity and pervasiveness of NPR’s biased reporting.

The study will soon be available on the CAMERA website. It will also be distributed to the public and to Members of Congress as a part of a stepped-up effort by the media- monitoring group to redress the anti-Israel tilt of the network.



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