Defying public indignation at their biased coverage of the Middle East, and insulated from reform by the subsidy of tax dollars, National Public Radio reporters and editors continue to disseminate harmfully inaccurate information.
CAMERA had hoped to find in the newly-appointed NPR President, Delano Lewis, an openness to documented and sober criticism. Early indications seemed promising–in late 1994, responding to a CAMERA complaint, the network broadcast correction of reporter Linda Gradstein’s inaccurate claim that Israeli Prime Minister Rabin had called for the use of torture against Arab prisoners. When, however, problems in coverage continued, CAMERA representatives met in February 1995 with Lewis, Bill Buzenberg, Vice President for News, and Elizabeth Becker, Foreign Editor. NPR gave assurances then that any future CAMERA concerns would be addressed promptly by Buzenberg.
Shortly afterward CAMERA submitted detailed criticism of a specific NPR segment in which Israel was erroneously charged with abusing Palestinian Arabs by thwarting the direct export of Gaza strawberries to Europe. Like other NPR reports, this one repeated accusations by partisan sources and failed to check facts independently. NPR never answered the CAMERA inquiry, or corrected the error.
The network continues to misrepresent not only myriad facts but the broad landscape of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In NPR’s rendition Israel is responsible for virtually every delay in the march toward peace. Reports radically downplay threats Israel faces in the form of terrorism, military-strategic vulnerability, and anti-Semitism promoted by Arab nations and Palestinian groups.
CAMERA’s current ad campaign aims to shine light on the unprofessional practices of the network. The first ad focuses on NPR’s whitewashing of Hamas, a group repeatedly characterized by the network as an admirable social service agency, not a terror group.
What can concerned citizens do?
Withhold financial support from NPR until the coverage improves. Listeners are not obliged to subsidize defamation.
Complain to Congress, which requires the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (dispenser of tax dollars to public networks) to ensure "objectivity and balance" in controversial programming.