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Commentary from the Mile High City
Sunday, November 02, 2003
NPR on the Defensive
This week's Intermountain Jewish News contains a reply by NPR's president and CEO, Kevin Klose, to recent criticism in the paper. The paper's editorial page characterizes the reply as "we're wrong, but we won't admit it," and then goes on to hope the reforms proposed are real. He does that symmetrical criticism from both sides is no proof of objectivity or fairness - as long as the two sides don't have symmetrical goals: "Palestinian critics want a pro-Palestinian radio station, with no dispassionate reporting, no objectivity, no concession of any point to Israel. We want a neutral, dispassionate radio station that lets the facts speak for themselves. When that happens, we'll let NPR be."
In the meantime, let's take a look at what Mr. Klose has to say about the changes NPR has implemented.
I was unable to find this document, either searching by name, or under the Middle East Reporting section of the website.
No, they don't. It may help for someone doing research on NPR's unofficial positions to have all their reports at hand. But if I listed to a story a week on the subject, and 95% of the time it's tilted one way, I don't need to go digging through their entire ourve to see where they stand. Moreover, NPR is engaged in producing radio shows, to which people listen while driving to and from work. Most people don't have the time to go reading all of NPR's valuable reporting on a subject, that's why they listen. Also, presenting all reports on a website appears to give them all equal value, when Morning Sedition and All Things Crescent have by far the highest listenership. Bob Edwards introducing a story on the latest massacre in Jenin carries far more weight than a Sunday Evening Weekend Edition report on a joing swallow-watching program in the Galil.
Fine, but what points of view did they express? NPR is also scrupulous about reporting on the Israeli opposition, especially the Peace Left, insignificant a political force though they may now be. The Palestinians may not be right, but they sure are sure of themselves. Somehow, I doubt many of the Palestinians quoted expressed their strong personal beliefs in the right of a Jewish state to exist.
This is nice and charming and all that. How about you decide that you're going to report the obvious stories fairly, and then we can get on with the others. You're the guys with the reporters on the ground; you discharge your professional responsibilities to report what's going on.
Go to the NPR site. Look at Mr. Dvorkin's work. See if you think he's taking a tough line on this. See if you would take this criticism seriously.
Again, these people are on the outside, with an obvious agenda, although the agendas differ in their objectives. It's NPR's job to sort this stuff out; and in any case, since when is meeting with the ADL the same thing as meeting with CAIR? Finally, by associating Arab-Americans with the Palestinian cause, and Jewish-Americans with Israel, just contributes to making these people (read, the Jews) targets for those with a gripe about Israel.
Read: we're wrong, but we won't admit it.