NPR Apologizes to CAMERA…But Middle East Distortions Continue

In a number of recent speeches to community and synagogue groups in the U.S. National Public Radio’s Jerusalem reporter, Linda Gradstein, accused CAMERA of ignoring NPR’s response to CAMERA’s criticisms of the network’s Middle East coverage, including her own personally written, detailed rebuttal.

In fact, an Alert mailed to 20,000 CAMERA members on Jan 4, 1993, contained extended excerpts of the NPR rebuttal authored by Managing Editor John Dinges (the full response was also made available to members).

CAMERA has never received any communication from Linda Gradstein, either directly or via NPR. In light of Gradstein’s recent statements CAMERA contacted Mary Morgan, NPR’s director of public affairs, requesting a copy of the Gradstein rebuttal. However, Morgan said the reporter had "misspoken," that she had meant to say John Dinges wrote the response and that CAMERA had not published it "in full." Morgan apologized on behalf of NPR and Gradstein if any other impression had been given. It certainly had.

While NPR expressed regret for the Gradstein gaffe the network has yet to face the issue of bias in its presentation of events in Israel and the Middle East. Distortion and inaccuracy persist.

Recent Examples:

  • October 24, 1993, Weekend Edition Sunday
    NPR Reporter Scott Simon
    : "The Jewish quarter of the Old Walled City was respected but neglected during the years of Jordanian rule."

    FACT: In 1948 the Jordanians shelled the Jewish Quarter with mortars, reducing much of it to rubble. Subsequently, the Jewish population was expelled and 35 synagogues were desecrated or destroyed entirely. Tens of thousands of religious books were burned. 38,000 tombstones from the thousand-year-old Mount of Olives Cemetery were systematically dug up, defaced or smashed. Many were used to pave roads and build latrines. For the first time since the Roman conquest in the first century Jews were denied access to their holiest religious sites, including the Western Wall.

  • December 13, 1993, All Things Considered
    Dr. Sayed Nasr: "…the Virgin Mary…would look like an Arab woman, or Palestinian woman, which she was, you know."
    NPR Host Robert Siegel: "Uh-hmm."

    FACT: The mother of Jesus was a Jew, as Robert Siegel likely is aware. Is NPR now in the business of abetting Arab revisionist efforts to appropriate Jewish and Christian history to Arab political aims? Is "Uh-hmm" an adequate response to howlers such as that by Sayed Nasr?

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