Who Verifies NPR’s Reporting on the Hamas War?

Several weeks ago, CAMERA showed how NPR was running interference for Palestinian terrorists, using the example of a deadly explosion near northern Gaza’s Al Ahli hospital.  Despite the clear evidence that Israel provided, implicating a misfired missile by Palestinian Islamic Jihad for that blast, NPR journalists refused to unequivocally discount Hamas’ accusations of Israeli responsibility.  

Instead, they seemed intent on trying to discredit Israel’s version: they gave equal weight to Israel’s evidence and the unsupported proclamation of the Hamas terrorist regime. They obscured Hamas’ authority over many of their cited sources and presented Hamas statistics unquestioningly, despite the terrorist regime’s long track record of lying about casualties and its directives to call all casualties, even of combatants, “innocent civilians.” They ignored independent corroboration of Israel’s claims by multiple intelligence offices in Europe and North America in favor of uncertain allegations casting doubt on Israel’s account by non-expert, anti-Israel activists, while not disclosing their partisan affiliations. NPR journalists themselves pretentiously repeated on broadcast after broadcast, “NPR cannot independently verify” Israel’s claims.

This has become an NPR refrain when it comes to Israeli claims and the evidence that supports them.  For example:

We don’t have independent verification of that [that there is some kind of command center in the tunnels underneath Al-Shifa Hospital.]  That is the Israeli claim.” (Steve Inskeep, Morning Edition, Nov. 13)

We can’t independently confirm these details [of a Hamas command-and-control center, suicide bomb vests, grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, explosive devices, RPGs and other weapons that IDF Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari shows in a video taken from the basement the hospital.] And Hamas is saying they didn’t operate there, that this is not real.” (Greg Myre, Morning Edition,Nov. 14)

“This is an Israeli military spokesman, Jonathan Conricus, giving a video tour of guns, grenades, uniforms he says Israeli troops found. Now, NPR can’t independently verify this. “ (Lauren Freyer, Morning Edition, Nov. 16)

“Israel, meanwhile, has released a bunch of videos it says prove that Hamas not only operated out of tunnels under the hospital but that it brought at least three hostages into the hospital and, in fact, killed one of them there. They showed us hospital security camera footage and video recorded apparently by a robot that went into those tunnels. NPR hasn’t been able to independently verify any of that footage, though.” (Lauren Frayer, Morning Edition, Nov. 20)

No such qualifications are appended to Hamas claims that come without any evidence at all.  On the contrary, NPR reporters present those claims as authoritative, referring to “health officials” or Palestinian “health ministry” without mentioning that they are subservient to the Hamas terrorist regime that has a history of lying about statistics and turning everything into an opportunity to demonize Israel.  For example:

Health officials in Gaza say five weeks of Israeli airstrikes and the war have killed more than 11,000 people and wounded another 27,000, most of whom are women and children.” (Aya Batrawy, Weekend Edition, Nov. 11)

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza says that of more than 11,000 people killed in this war already, including more than 4,500 children, at least 40% of these deaths were from airstrikes in the south, where people have been forced to flee.“ (Aya Batrawy, Morning Edition, Nov. 13)

“But its [Israel’s] offensive has killed more than 11,400 people, most of them women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza. (Aya Batrawy, All Things Considered, Nov. 16)

“Israeli bombardment has killed thousands of civilians in the areas of the Gaza Strip that Israel has ordered them to move to, Gaza health ministry death tolls show.” (“Israel told Palestinians to evacuate to southern Gaza — and stepped up attacks there,” Ruth Sherlock, Dan Woods, Abu Baker Bashir, NPR.org, Nov. 18)

Such overt double standards in reporting – where filmed evidence is discounted as unverifiable only when it comes from Israel and  uncorroborated claims and statistics attributed to the “Gaza health ministry” are treated as authoritative — raise the obvious question of whether anyone can really trust or verify NPR’s credibility.

It is worth remembering next time NPR solicits donations from the public.

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