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Andrea Levin:
NPR ignores victims

Gerald Steinberg:
From Berkeley to Jenin

Howard Karten:
On NPR Programming

The Forum

The Forum features contributions from readers like you and other fine authors who have given me permission to "reprint" their work. To submit a contribution, or just an idea for one, send it to I respect differences of opinions — after all, I listen to public radio all the time — so your letter in support of NPR is welcome too.

Iraq Confidential

By Stuart Bradford

To all you liberals:

If you think that NPR is not left-biased,well, you need therapy.They do have some good programs, but their political spins give them the well earned reputation of being the "radio wing of the DNC."

Scott Ritter   Ritter's "Untold Story"

For example, they had Scott Ritter on the other day, and the questions were all softballs. How come they did not ask him why he took blood money from Saddam to enable Scottie to write his book? Do you think the money came with no conditions? If you think not, well, back to therapy. And NPR was not interested in that minor detail around the money, or probably Scottie would not have come on the show if that question was on the table. This is the purest definition of bias. Scottie saw a way to get rich and famous, no matter that the seed money came from a man who was hiding over 300 mass graves. Will that constitute a special place in Hell? Do mass graves not rise to the level of Lib-radar? They did not in Rwanda either during the Clinton era, and as usual the buck stopped at the Clinton administration when he called the genocide a "failure of the UN." Lib-leadership at it's finest, stand by and blame anyone but himself, even the corrupt UN. Why didn't Clinton send Janet Reno over to Rwanda? Remember how well she handled Waco?

Scott Ritter acted like he was running the entire weapons inspection program, when he was really just a team member. No matter that Clinton and Gore had said during their administration that Saddam was the most dangerous man in the world, and had WMD's. All somehow overlooked by the dogged investigative reporters over at NPR.

If you think that NPR's budget is too small to worry about, let's do a Conservative Public Radio with an equal budget. No problem there, right?

Or, let's see if the staff over at NPR can compete in the real marketplace, and fund themselves like all other radio stations. Like Air America, they would fold in no time. And why is that? Don't graphic discussions of 3rd trimester abortions attract a gob of Lib-listeners and Lib-advertisers? Why don't they invite John Kerry on to talk about when he had himself filmed in Vietnam running around the jungle on "patrol"? Now THAT is Lib-humor at it's finest…

Click here to listen to Diane Rehm's interview with former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter [Diane Rehm Show, 10/11/05].

Gerald Steinberg:
From Berkeley to Jenin

Howard Karten:
On NPR Programming

NPR Ignores Israeli Terror Victims

By Andrea Levin

As Israel endured the blows of unprecedented Palestinian terrorist attacks in the last terrible days of March 2002, National Public Radio continued its long pattern of sharply underreporting and depersonalizing violence against the people of that nation while emphasizing the feelings, perspectives and accusations of the Palestinians.

In a period of six days, from March 27 through April 2, when 53 Israelis were slain, not one of the victims was mentioned by name, not one bereaved family was interviewed, not one injured survivor was the focus of a story.

Bus in Haifa   Palestinian terror (unattributed)

The attacks were reported briefly with some references to the gruesome details, but almost invariably with emphasis on how such events might harm political developments. Bureau Chief Peter Kenyon said the Netanya bombing that killed 29 "ripped a hole in US-led cease fire efforts."

But among those who were actually "ripped" apart, though ignored by NPR, were Idit and Andre Fried who had immigrated from Hungary in the 1970's. Idit was a nurse at a Netanya hospital where her two children raced in search of their parents after the terrorist bombing at the Passover Seder. The children had been saved because they arrived late at the Seder.

Ernest and Eva Weiss were concentration camp survivors seated at the same holiday meal with a friend, George Yakobovitz. All were killed.

Frieda Britvich, a survivor of Auschwitz, was also slain.

Dvora Karim, originally from Iran like several other victims, was buried with her husband Michael, who was murdered with her, and is survived by two daughters.

Eighteen others with names and families were killed by the Netanya bomber, and scores more were wounded.

The next day, Rachael and David Gavish, their son Avraham, and Rachel's father Yitzhak Kanner, were slain in Elon Moreh when a terrorist broke into their home. The Gavishes left six children, Menashe, Yeshurun, Avigdor, Tzofia, Leah and Assaf.

The day after that, a bomber at a Jerusalem supermarket killed 17-year-old Rachel Levy, who was off on an errand for dinner.

Then on March 31, a bomber murdered 14 people in Haifa's Matza restaurant. Fifteen-year-old Gal Koren was having lunch with his brother, Ran, and his father, Shimon. All were killed, leaving the mother to bury her husband and sons.

The Ron family was similarly bereft. Aviel, the father of Anat and Ofer, died with his children, only the mother surviving.

Bright-faced Orly Ofir, just 16 and a player in the Maccabi Haifa girls' soccer team, had been lunching with her mother and two sisters. She spoke a few words after the explosion, as the ambulance rushed her to the hospital, but later succumbed.

Wilkinson cartoon

©2002 Washington Post: Click here for the complete cartoon

Although none of these people or any other of the March terror victims was mentioned on NPR, there were human interest stories about Palestinians. The day after the Haifa slaughter, the network aired a segment devoted entirely to the discomforts of a woman in Ramallah whose large house was temporarily requisitioned by Israeli soldiers. The woman, who admitted the soldiers did not mistreat her family, declared that "terrorism is every time a human life is being threatened, is being terrorized and humiliated."

The NPR interviewer did not, of course, remark on the particular kind of humiliation experienced by Israelis engaged in removing maimed women and children, and body parts, from the streets and cafes of Israel.

But no human interest story of this crisis period captures NPR's avid pro-Palestinian ethos like that by Linda Gradstein on April 2. The piece concerns the alleged evils of checkpoints, with emphasis on the experience of Samar Hamdun, a Palestinian woman and mother of four who alleges having been delayed at a roadblock a month earlier and giving birth to a still-born baby as a result.

Characteristically, the report includes a lopsided lineup of speakers, this time including the comments of frequent NPR guest Mustapha Barghouti, who decries Israel's actions and details Palestinian grievances with regard to restrictions on Palestinian ambulances and delays at checkpoints. Not a word is uttered to indicate the purpose and need for checkpoints, which are presented simply as a gratuitous form of Israeli torment of innocent people. Israel's effort to restrict the movement of terrorists bent on killing innocents is entirely ignored.

Only at the end of the long and emotive segment does Gradstein report that an Israeli spokesman "insists most ambulances are allowed to pass checkpoints" and that the vehicles have been "misused" by Palestinians to transport explosives. Israeli spokesman Jacob Dalal is given one sentence to say terrorists have exploited ambulances before the NPR reporter hastens to inject that a "coalition of Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups" is seeking redress against the soldiers through the Israeli Supreme Court.

The depth of NPR's ideological favoritism for the Palestinians is singularly underscored when, in a week that saw multiple massacres of Israelis, the network could not bring itself to offer even a glimpse at the personal side of the losses suffered. For anyone concerned about the damage done to public understanding of the realities in the Middle East by this tax-supported, listener-funded network, protest and suspension of support are essential.

Andrea Levin is executive director of the Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). Her contribution first appeared in the Jerusalem Post. Click here to listen to Linda Gradstein's report on Palestinian ambulances.

Howard Karten:
On NPR Programming

From Berkeley to Jenin

By Gerald M. Steinberg

The campaign to demonize Israel, which reached a crescendo in the Jenin massacre myths and the Durban conference, did not suddenly appear following the collapse of the Oslo process two years ago. Rather, its origins can be found in the glorious 1960s, in the era of the civil rights movements, free speech, flower power, protests against the Vietnam war, and the marches for justice, equality, and national liberation for all except Jews.

In sharp contrast to the self-serving myths of peace and love, the excesses of the political movements during the 1960s are the direct antecedents of the slogans and myths that now promote the Palestinian campaign of murder. The mass ignorance, perversion of history, and irrational hatred of Israel that developed on university campuses became the seeds of the global campaign of delegitimization against Israel.

Left activist   Student protests at UC Berkeley

Unlike most major changes in history, which cannot be traced to a single event, the demonization of Israel had a clear beginning immediately following the Israeli victory in the June 1967 war. Before the fighting began, during the weeks of crisis and tension, the world's sympathy (with the exception of the Arab world, of course) was with Israel, the beleaguered Jewish state struggling to survive.

Nasser's eviction of UN peacekeeping troops from the Sinai, the shrill rhetoric promising to "throw the Jews into the sea," as well as the military pacts and deployment of troops along Israel's borders, were all reported widely and accurately.

At that time, there was no "occupation" to excuse Arab and Palestinian hatred and barbarism, and there were no Israeli "settlements" to condemn. When the fighting began, almost no one questioned Israel's right to defend itself.

However, from the moment the Jewish people and Israel ceased being victims and demonstrated the capability to defend themselves and their homeland, the sympathy suddenly shifted to hostility. On university campuses, the use of any military force, even for self-defense and prevention, was automatically condemned as "aggressive" and immoral, and Israel's victory in a war for survival was condemned in the same breath as America's war in Vietnam.

A simplistic and immoral equation began to take hold, in which Israeli tanks and aircraft became inherently immoral, while explosives, car bombs, and other forms of brutal terrorism were justified as "resistance."

In addition, the orientalist paternalism and romanticism imported from the British Colonial Office elevated the Arabs and the Palestinians, in particular to the status of victims, regardless of context or details.

Although "free speech" was enshrined as the core of political activism in the '60s, beginning in Berkeley, this was also a myth. Under the banner of free speech, the limits placed on discussion of specific issues and individuals were attacked and dismantled except when it came to Israel.

Refugee camp

View from top of the Hawashin district of the Jenin refugee camp (©2002 Peter Bouckaert/HRW)

After the Six Day War, any defense of Israel was prohibited in Berkeley and the universities that followed behind in close formation, and anyone who did not share the elite's politically-correct ideology was subject to physical attack.

In the Orwellian distortion of language and morality that has come to be the norm, Israelis (except for the apologetic Left) were intimidated and prevented from presenting their views.

Indeed, when it comes to Israel and other ideological issues, the legacy of the 1960s and the generation of revolutionaries is one of intolerance and political correctness. As a result, many of the students who learned about the Arab-Israeli conflict after 1967 adopted the simple-minded frameworks of Israeli demonization and Palestinian victimization.

Some graduates became journalists, who report events in the Middle East through the prism that begins with the "Israeli aggression of 1967." Others, particularly in Europe, spawned their own imitation '60s movements (while continuing to curse Americans), turning into the pompous diplomats who issue the automatic condemnations of Israel and flock to pay their respects to Yasser Arafat.

The rampant intellectual laziness and moral equivalence drawn between terrorist ("activist" or "militant" in newspeak) attacks and self-defense extends far beyond the Israel-Arab framework.

The inane campus protests against US-led military actions in Afghanistan following the September 11 al-Qaeda terror attacks, and the humanitarian campaign to protect Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction are manifestations of the same trend.

Terrorism is excused in the name of cultural misperception and responsibility for fictional "root causes" that are used to justify mass murder.

However, in recent months, the strain caused by massive cognitive dissonance has begun to appear. Indeed, a few brave intellectuals have dared to stray from the socially acceptable path, pointing to the fundamental intellectual and moral failure on university campuses around the world.

Professor Michael Walzer from Princeton University, asks "Can there be a decent Left?" (Dissent, Summer 2002), and suggests that "festering resentment, ingrown anger, and self-hate" are the basic sources of this phenomenon. Oriana Fallaci, an Italian journalist and former member of the Euro-elite, has published a powerful attack against the rampant European demonization of Israel and the anti-Semitism it exposes. These and other contributions mark an important beginning of the counterattack.

However, the insidious heritage of political correctness, conformity, and intimidation spawned in the universities in the 1960s will take a long time to correct. Meanwhile, the intellectuals who continue to lead the Israel-bashing and campaign on behalf of Palestinian and al-Qaeda terrorists are supporting mass murder.

Gerald M. Steinberg is director of the Program on Conflict Resolution at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. His contribution first appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

Cliff Kincaid:
NPR's Hypocrite

On NPR Programming

Contributed by Howard Karten

How does NPR decide what programs to air or distribute to member stations, and what news to report? The answer is interesting, and reveals much about NPR.

If you're a commercial broadcaster, like NBC, the answer is basically (though probably not completely) the classic answer for capitalism: "give the buyer [listener] what he wants." Find out what your listeners want--what entertainment they want, what news they want covered--and present that. If a lot of listeners want news about Argentina, or the latest research in proctology--or if you can determine that there is a large group of potential listeners who are interested in those subjects--then that's what you do, if you want to remain competitive.

Scott Simon   ©NPR: WE/SAT's Scott Simon

Does NPR do any polling or run any focus groups to find out what listeners, or potential listeners, want? It might--I can't say for sure. But I do know that NPR personnel have indicated in the past that they think it's a good idea not to pay too much attention to what the "hoi polloi" want. Usually, they seem to think they know better.

Here's an example. Some years ago, Scott Simon's show, Weekend Edition/Saturday, was running an audio comic strip called "Julius Kanipple, real estate photographer." I always found it an incredibly stupid, pointless piece. Apparently, lots of other listeners did too, because one Saturday (in April 1995, as I recall) Scott Simon took to the air to announce that his show was discontinuing it. My recollection (and someone really ought to check this, in the interests of accuracy and not falsely accusing anyone) is that Simon actually admitted that NPR didn't pay much attention to what listeners said they wanted, but in this case, listener disgust was so overwhelming that he was bowing to it.

In other words, just how does NPR decide what stories to pursue, what programs to distribute? My guess is that NPR personnel are guided more by their own interests than by what listeners want. For example, how many listeners really care about those fawning, shallow stories about the artsy set that "special correspondent" Susan Stamberg does from time to time? If in fact NPR today relies mostly on support from "the public"--a claim I've heard on NPR--then, shouldn't it be doing stories that listeners want, rather than what its own people like?

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Revised 5/6/04