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National Public Radio's Pro-Israeli Bias

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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National Public Radio's (NPR) Pro-Israeli Bias - by Stephen Lendman

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.

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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 7%.

"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."

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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.

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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.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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