- Since established in 1970, NPR ignored its public trust
in favor of privilege, corporatism, militarism, imperial wars, and Israel's
vilest crimes, including collective punishment, illegal occupation, targeted
killings, land theft, dispossessions, home demolitions, crop destruction,
mass incarcerations, torture, violence, and the 2008 - 09 Gaza war inflicting
mass deaths, permanent injuries, vast devastation, and human misery against
defenseless civilians, imprisoned under siege since June 2007, and afflicted
by a dire humanitarian crisis as a result - exacerbated by conflict and
intermittent attacks, issues NPR ignores or understates.
- It's notorious for its biased, shoddy reporting, pseudo-journalism,
creeping commercialism, distracting non-news, and deceiving listeners it's
public, non-profit, and impartial. Savvy media consumers know better and
tune them out for delivering the same slanted coverage found on major networks
and in broadsheets like The New York Times, Washington Post, and others
- grossly favoring power, and when it comes to Israel it's interests matter.
Palestinian ones don't, so news is carefully filtered to distort facts,
and report lies that when repeated enough become truths.
- In its May/June 2004 issue, Fairness and Accuracy in
Reporting (FAIR) asked "How Public Is Public Radio?" in examining
its guest list choices - on all issues (including Israel), mostly government
officials, corporate think tank representatives, professionals representing
their interests, and other elite sources, the public comprising a tiny
- "For a public radio service intended to provide
an independent alternative to corporate-owned and commercially driven mainstream
media," it said, "NPR is surprisingly reliant on mainstream"
sources, the public nearly entirely shut out, and when included they're
largely nameless "people in the street," quoted in one-sentence
sound bites with no impact.
- In December 2001, FAIR's Seth Ackerman discussed the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict "Illusion of Balance" along with
a companion November/December 2001 "Study of NPR's Coverage of Deaths
in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict."
- It found an 81% likelihood that an Israeli death would
be reported compared to 34% for a Palestinian. Among under age 18 Palestinians,
only 20% were reported compared to 89% of Israelis, FAIR concluding that
"being a minor makes your death more newsworthy to NPR if you are
Israeli, but less" so, or not at all, if Palestinian.
- The imbalance is far greater today with few if any Israeli
deaths, many Palestinian ones, but few ever reported and when done, it's
dismissive, brief, and/or falsified as to the cause.
- FAIR October - February 2002 Action Alerts "repeatedly
criticized NPR for describing periods when only Palestinians were being
killed....as times of 'relative calm (or) comparative quiet,' " yet
barely concealing outrage about Israeli deaths, only caused in response
to unreported IDF or settler-initiated violence.
- Mainstream US media, including NPR, suppress stories
like the London Guardian Rory McMarthy's on April 17, 2009 headlined, "Teargas
canister shot kills Palestinian demonstrator," saying "Bassem
Abu Rahmeh is (the) 18th person to die since 2004 during demonstrations
against (the) West Bank('s)" Separation Wall.
- Before being killed, Abu Rahmed begged Israeli soldiers
not to shoot lest they kill an Israeli, his last words in Hebrew being:
"Officer, officer, officer, listen, you killed an Israeli, wait a
moment, wait a moment!" Instead, a high-velocity gas canister hit
him in the chest and killed him.
- "The Israeli military said it was looking into the
incident," of course, meaning whitewash, cover-up, and exonerating
soldiers to commit repeated atrocities and get away with it - but try finding
that explained on NPR or any mainstream US news service where Palestinian
suffering is a non-story.
- On April 6, 2007, Felice Pace's CounterPunch article
discussed NPR's Weekend Edition, Saturday saying host Scott Simon "managed
to do yet another NPR (Middle East) News interview (March 31)....in which
he completely ignores the central influence of the Palestinian People's
plight," affecting the entire region, contributing to its instability.
- From 1990 - 2009, Linda Gradstein was NPR's Israel correspondent,
at the same time accepting pro-Israeli organization honoraria, the Electronic
Intifada's Ali Abunimah and Nigel Parry reported on February 19, 2002 in
their article headlined, "Special report: NPR's Linda Gradstein takes
cash payments from pro-Israeli groups."
- Despite a clear conflict of interest, professional ethics,
and NPR policy, she worked as a paid Israeli propagandist, EI writers concluding:
- "for some reason or other, Gradstein (was) effectively
exempt from NPR's own regulations. These revelations only broaden existing
concerns about the integrity of NPR's Middle East reporting and honesty
of Linda Gradstein....the sad truth is that (she) rarely (met the minimum)
standards," nor do other NPR reporters covering foreign or domestic
policies. They like other major media reporters are paid liars.
- NPR Misinformation on East Jerusalem
- Jews claim all Jerusalem as its historic capital, Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring, during a May 22, 2009 Jerusalem
Day ceremony (commemorating the city's 1967 reunification), that:
- "United Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Jerusalem
was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned
- For Muslims, it's Islam's third holiest site, containing
the 35-acre Noble Sanctuary (al-Haram al-Sharif), including the Al-Aqsa
Mosque and Dome of the Rock. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as its capital,
yet Israel is dispossessing them one settlement expansion and home demolition
at a time, world leaders turning a blind eye, letting it happen, despite
disingenuous opposition rhetoric often quoted in mainstream reports, including
- On March 26, Mondoweiss.net published Henry Norr's article
headlined, "When it comes to E. Jerusalem, 'NPR' misleads and misinforms,"
offering examples from 22 recent broadcasts.
- NPR calls the city "Israel's capital," its
"undivided (or) unified capital," with a historic claim to it
all. In contrast, Occupied East Jerusalem is dismissed as "disputed
territory," its final status "only (to) be determined through
negotiations" that may or may not occur, but given how previous ones
were structured it won't matter.
- In three accounts, NRP quoted Netanyahu saying "The
Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago," despite Judaic
roots dating only from around 1,800 BC, the Old Testament calling Abraham
the first Hebrew for refusing to worship the period's common idols, and
organized Judaism dates from Moses around 1,500 BC.
- One "Talk of the Nation" report featured an
Israeli analyst saying East Jerusalem settlement construction will continue
because the entire city is "the heart and soul of the Jewish people."
Analyst James Fallows told listeners that Israelis consider East Jerusalem
settlements "necessary for their survival."
- Other reports described expropriated areas as idyllic
"neighborhood(s)," hilltop "communit(ies)," pious Jews
there "focus(ing) on their religious studies and pay(ing) little attention
to the outside world." Their large families require settlement expansions
to accommodate them, so Palestinians have to go, no matter that they and
their ancestors lived there for centuries.
- Yet Israelis say East Jerusalem's 250,000 Palestinians
have no historic claim to the city they "want" for their "future
state" and "aspire" to be their capital - mindless that
it already is and that no government, including America, recognizes Jerusalem
as Israel's capital or has an embassy there.
- The November 1947 UN Partition Plan (Resolution 181)
designated Jerusalem an international city under a UN Trusteeship Council,
still binding today. The 1949 UN Resolution 273 gave Israel UN membership
conditional on its implementing Resolutions 181 and 194 (December 1948)
granting Palestinians their universally accepted "Right of Return
- topics NPR never explains.
- Though rarely discussed or reported, world governments
and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) consider East Jerusalem occupied.
Even the ICRC says so, calling Israeli actions there "illegal"
under international law, specifically the 1907 Hague Regulations and Fourth
Geneva's Article 49 stating:
- "Individual or mass transfers, as well as deportations
of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying
Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited,
regardless of the motive." Neither shall "The Occupying Power....deport
or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it
- In addition, numerous UN resolutions established "no
legal validity" for occupied land acquisitions or settlement building.
When violations occur, no nation may recognize or support them or the responsible
- Further, the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence
to Colonial Countries and Peoples condemned "colonialism in all its
forms and manifestations," including settlements deemed to be illegal.
- International laws are clear and unequivocal. NPR never
reports or explains them - that:
- -- all Israeli settlements are illegal;
- -- growing numbers of Jews oppose them;
- -- many support the global BDS movement (boycott, sanctions,
- -- more now leave Israel than arrive; and
- -- Palestinians are systematically persecuted, terrorized,
and denied rights afforded solely to Jews, and are being dispossessed of
property they owned and did "most of the building (on for) over the
last 1,500 years."
- Their voices are virtually shut out. Instead, feature
interviews are presented like "All Things Considered" host Robert
Siegel's with Israel's US ambassador Michael Oren, saying:
- "....Jerusalem is sovereign Israeli territory, and
it has the same status as Tel Aviv. And just as Israelis have a right to
build anywhere in Tel Aviv, they have a right to build anywhere in the
city of Jerusalem."
- Or another with Martin Indyk (former US Israeli ambassador
and Netanyahu brother-in-law) hyping Iran as an "existential threat"
when last September Reuters quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak saying "Iran
does not constitute an existential threat to Israel....Israel is strong.
I don't see anyone who could pose an existential threat," though he
called Iran a challenge to the whole world without being more specific.
- NPR pro-Israeli propaganda persists in deference to the
Israeli Lobby and its funding sources, much of it corporate, from special
interest foundations, and wealthy donors strongly supportive of Israel
as are virtually every member of Congress and all administrations, Republican
- No matter, according to a FAIR May 17, 2005 Action Alert
headlined, "CPB (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) Turns to
NPR as Latest 'Bias' Target." It quoted a May 16 New York Times report
about the CPB considering "a study on whether NPR's Middle East coverage
was more favorable to Arabs than to Israelis - further evidence that the
agency intends to police public media for content it deems too 'liberal.'
- Past FAIR analyses clearly exposed NPR's pro-Israeli
coverage - recently more extreme, making it impossible for listeners to
know truths NPR suppresses, much like The New York Times and rest of America's
print and broadcast media, in contrast to Haaretz writers Amira Hass and
Gideon Levy who tell it heroically to Israeli and world readers.
- A Final Comment
- Among its 25 top 2005 censored stories, Project Censored's
No. 11 pick headlined, "The Media Can Legally Lie," a CMW Report,
Spring 2003 by Liane Casten titled, "Court Ruled that Media Can Legally
lie." It covered a unanimous February 2003 Florida Court of Appeals
decision for Fox News, saying no rule prohibits distorting or falsifying
- It pertained to 1996 Jane Akre/Steve Wilson Fox affiliate
WTVT, Tampa reports on bovine growth hormone (BGH) dangers, Monsanto's
hazardous to human health genetically engineered milk additive. At first,
the station loved them, but headquarters Fox executives and their attorneys
wanted the reporters to admit falsifying evidence and produce bogus reports
on BGH safety.
- They refused, threatened to inform the FCC, were fired,
and sued - a district court jury deciding on their behalf, awarding Acre
alone $425,000 in damages. Fox appealed and won, the Appellate Court saying
Acre wasn't protected under Florida's whistleblower statute, it loosely
interpreted to mean employers must violate an adopted "law, rule,
or regulation." Fox simply followed "policy" entitling its
stations to lie - whether on product safety or falsifying facts about the
- NPR and other US major media operations take full advantage,
keeping their listeners and readers in the dark and uninformed, while Palestinians
are systematically persecuted, out of sight and mind, except for people
concerned enough to learn the truth and tell it.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and
Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.