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Clinton, Bin Laden slayer?

Miller assaults Bush

Revisionist history

Killed seven times over

News shows

Another Cycle of Violence

Date: 7/17/02
Show: Morning Edition (NPR)

Funeral of terrorist victim

The body of 8 month old Tiferet Shilon is carried at her funeral. She, her grandmother Zilpah Kashi and her father Gal Shilon were murdered by Palestinian gunmen in an attack on a bus. [©AP/Vadim Girda]

If you want to know how NPR thinks about the Middle East conflict, you only have to listen to the interview that Bob Edwards conducted today with NPR's Julie McCarthy in Jerusalem. Talking about a terrorist attack on an Israeli bus near the West Bank settlement of Emmanuel which resulted in the death of 8 Israeli civilians, including an unborn child, McCarthy said:

Unarmed Palestinians have been shot and killed during this latest Israeli deployment in the Palestinian territories, in retribution for a spate of suicide bombings in June.

On the face of it, her statement is true. Indeed, just days ago an unarmed Palestinian photo journalist was shot in the leg and bled to death on his way to the hospital. He was among a group of gun-wielding Palestinian men and boys who approached an Israeli tank that lay disabled on the side of the road. After firing warning shots which apparently remained unheeded, the tank crew aimed at the legs of the mob to deter them from coming any closer.

The problem with her statement is that she compares unintentional civilian casualties on the one side with terror victims on the other side. The Palestinian commandos attacking the bus — cowardly dressed in IDF uniforms — had only one goal in mind: to kill as many Jews as possible, regardless of whether they are combatants or not, innocent women and children or not. Their "final solution" is to wipe out Israel from the map of the Middle East.

Of course, the IDF is not in the business of killing Palestinian civilians in "retribution" for suicide bombings. The deployment of forces in area A is intended to make it more difficult for terrorists to hatch new plans, to find and apprehend those responsible for the attacks, and to stop suicide bombers from reaching Israel before they have a chance to blow themselves up in pizza parlors, open-air markets, or bus stops.

For NPR, it's just another cycle of violence.

  • audio fileAnalysis: Palestinian Attack on Israeli Bus Near West Bank Settlement [Morning Edition, 7/17/02; transcript]
  • NPR Bios: Julie McCarthy, London Bureau Chief


Miller assaults Bush

Clinton, Bin Laden Slayer?

Date: 8/5/02
Show: Morning Edition (NPR)

Given that 89% of the journalists inside the Beltway voted for Bill Clinton, it was only a matter of time that one of them would write a story in which Bill would play the leading role of the terrorist slayer and W. the part of the bumbling President. The only surprise was that it took so long.

WTC   WTC [unattributed]

According to a Time magazine article by Michael Elliott, during the final days of the Clinton administration, Richard Clarke, Clinton's point man for terrorism, developed a plan to strike back at al Qaeda. Details of the plan were handed over to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and then nothing happened until September 4, 2001, when President Bush signed off on the plan. The moral of the fable is that the terrorist attacks of September 11 could have been prevented if Bush had acted on the plan in a timely manner.

The White House immediately dismissed the story and stated that the action plan approved shortly before the attacks was the result of the administration's own evaluation of terrorist threats.

Except for NPR, no major news outlet picked up on the story. One day after the Time article was announced on the news wire, Morning Edition aired an exclusive interview with the author. Needless to say that neither Ms. Rice nor anybody else in the Bush White House was asked to comment on the story.

  • audio fileNPR's Renée Montagne talks with Michael Elliott of Time magazine [Morning Edition, 8/5/02]
  • NPR Bios: Renée Montagne, Morning Edition Special Correspondent
  • Michael Elliott: columnist for Time magazine on the global agenda


Revisionist history

Matt Miller Assaults the Bush Administration

Date: 9/17/02
Show: Morning Edition (NPR)

Matt Miller   Matt Miller [©Tribune Media Services]

In his most rabid attack on the Bush administration yet, NPR's commentator Matt Miller accused the Bush administration to stage-manage the war on terror for maximum advantage in the 2002 and 2004 elections:

It may well be that Saddam's activities call for action very soon, though some lawmakers in both parties say they don't understand the president's urgency. A cynic, therefore, might see a staged, managed-for-politics scenario. In it, we'd see President Bush and the GOP ride the benefit of today's calculated Iraq focus until November. Then, in a show of eminent reasonableness, the president would agree to work first through the United Nations, which would authorize a resumption of inspections. The president would allow a year for those inspections to work, as any patient global statesman would.
Then, just as the presidential campaign heats up in 2004, something will happen. President Bush will say that time has run out, that inspections have proven fruitless and that the danger is even closer than we thought. The nation cannot wait. Another positive issue environment, in other words, that would shift attention away from the administration's budget deficits, economic mismanagement and bankrupt domestic agenda.

Never mind that at the time Miller's commentary aired the supposed timetable was already outdated. Bush had already brought his case to the United Nations and Iraq had already agreed to unfettered weapons inspections.

The apparent basis for his diatribe was an off-hand remark by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. Asked why the administration waited until after Labor Day to promote military action against Iraq, Card replied: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."

As a former White House official, Miller knows very well that, while Congress is on recess in August, administrations are reluctant to do anything, lest they want to be accused of taking advantage of the congressional absence. Also, the United Nations was not in session. On September 10, 2002, the 57th session of the General Assembly was inaugurated. Bush speech on September 12 was, therefore, one of the earliest possibilities for the President to present his case to the world assembly.

As a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, it is not surprising that Miller got a job as commentator for Morning Edition. After all, compared to Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop killer and death row inmate who was hired by All Things Considered, Miller looks downright moderate. Nevertheless, NPR should identify him as what he is: a (former) member of the Clinton administration and partisan for left and liberal causes.


Killed seven times over

Revisionist History of the Middle East Conflict

Date: 9/30/02
Show: Morning Edition (NPR)

The pro-Palestinian bias of NPR is so pervasive and pernicious that writing about it could easily fill up all the pages of NPRsucks. What is it about Israel that so inflames the bleeding-heart liberals of the NPR news rooms? Is it old-fashioned anti-Semitism? Is it that they hate Israel because it is our only friend in this part of the world?

For a seven-part series tracing the origins of the Middle East conflict which started today, Morning Edition's Mike Shuster assembled a panel of Palestinian and Israeli revisionist historians that quickly agreed on a largely Palestinian narrative of the century-old conflict, beginning with Herzl's First Zionist Congress and ending with the current, second Intifada.

Theodor Herzl   Theodor Herzl

If you recall Mike Shuster's Middle East reporting, the pro-Palestinian perspective of the series will not surprise you. What is new and particular malicious is that Shuster tries to give the impression that this is the consensus view of Israeli and Palestinian historians — of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) posted a number of articles that refute the false and misleading statements made in the series. Moreover, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League wrote a letter to NPR in which it complained about the many distortions in Mike Schuster's reporting. NPR's response to the criticism? It rerun the series in its entirety, without making any corrections.

There are many books written by historians who deal honestly with the Middle East and the history of Zionism. Read a book, surf the web — but don't listen to NPR if you look for unvarnished, unbiased information on this subject.


When minders don't mind

Amazing Homicide Rate: Killed Seven Times Over

Date: 10/3/02
Show: Morning Edition (NPR)

The World Health Organization of the United Nations recently reported that violence kills more than 1.5 million people every year. After suicide, homicide is the second biggest contributor to the carnage. In an interview with Etienne Krug, lead-author of the WHO study, NPR's Alex Chadwick quickly comes to the central question: who is to blame?

Let me ask you about the United States. How does this country rank in the study of violence?
There are many countries that are more violent than the United States, some countries in Latin America, some countries in the former Soviet Union have much higher rates of violence than the United States. Now, if we compare the United States to countries with a similar level of economic development, then the US ranks quite high. Just to give you one example, the overall homicide rate in the US is at about 700,000. If you compare that to the UK where it's less than 1, in France and Japan where they're all less than 1, we have a strong difference there.

Indeed, with a rate that high, we have to ask ourselves how the United States can survive. Since homicide rates are calculated per year and 100,000 population, a rate of 700,000 implies the every US citizen is killed seven times a year. What a murderous bunch!

Of course, Mr. Krug misspoke. The homicide rate for the United States is actually 5.4, a figure which is high compared to countries with exceedingly low murder rates, such as Japan (0.7) and France (1.1), but lower than in many other countries, such as South Africa (75.3), Brazil (19.0), and Taiwan (8.1).

Curiously, neither Chadwick nor anybody else at Morning Edition noticed the gross absurdity of the number. After 48 hours, NPR still had not posted a correction on its website nor broadcast one on the air. Even if you believe that we are an awfully violent society, as most do-gooders do, but doesn't a murder rate of 700,000 stretch credulity a bit?

Besides, it is unfair to compare a multiethnic, multicultural society such as the United States with uniform nation-states such as France and Japan. More than half of all violent crimes in the United States occur in the inner cities; the homicide rate among Blacks is seven times that of the average white population; the rate among Latinos is about twice that of non-Hispanic Whites.

I, for example, reside in a metropolitan area which has a homicide rate of 11.8 (based on the Year 2000 census). However, most murders take place in the center of the metropolis, raising the homicide rate there to 32.5. In contrast, the homicide rate of most suburbs ranges between 1 and 4; where I live, the rate is 0.4, even lower than in monocultural Japan.

  • audio fileStudy Documents Worldwide Toll of Violence [Morning Edition, 10/3/02]
  • NPR Bios: Alex Chadwick, Host of Day to Day
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Revised 5/5/04