ADC Action Alert:
Protest NPRs Failure to Accurately Cover Israeli Brutality
National Public Radio (NPR) is failing to provide complete and accurate coverage of the Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories and Israels brutal attempts to suppress it.
NPR provides commentator Daniel Schorr with an unchallenged platform from which to espouse his strongly pro-Israeli views. For example while three million Palestinians were under lockdown, surrounded by moats and trenches, forced into mass unemployment, unable to reach medical care, and suffering widespread shortages of food, Schorr complained that it was in fact Israel that was “besieged” because “Israelis are shopping less and staying at home more,” and are wondering “when it will be safe to go shopping or go to the movies again.” (All Things Considered, March 7)
It is shocking that NPR has downplayed the devastating effects of the Israeli siege in the occupied territories. On March 13, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that according to the International Red Cross Palestinian families across the West Bank were on the edge of starvation due to the Israeli siege. NPR did not report this.
Other than a few brief spots on hourly newscasts, the last full-length report on the Israeli-imposed siege of the occupied territories was on Morning Edition for March 6, and the introduction to the report termed the siege “new measures to control Palestinian violence.”
An instructive set of letters from ADC member Ali Abunimah to NPR detailing errors and patterns of misreporting by NPR is available on his website at
ADC urges its members and supporters to protest NPRs pattern of skewing coverage towards the perspective of the Israeli government.
or mail to:
National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
or fax (202) 513-3329.
ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS:
*NPR habitually ignores the deaths of Palestinians and attacks by
Israeli soldiers and settlers. For example:
On March 15, at least six Palestinian schoolchildren suffered injuries including broken bones and burns when an Israeli “stun” grenade was fired into a schoolyard in the city of Hebron. Israeli officials justified the attack on the children saying that some of them had been throwing stones at occupation troops. In its morning newscasts on March 16, NPR did not report this, but did report that Israeli authorities had arrested three Palestinian men and claimed to have foiled a plot to attack Israelis.
On February 28 according to Reuters, “In Abasan village in Khan Younis governorate [Gaza], 50 Palestinian nursery school children had a narrow
escape when they came under fire from the direction of Israeli-controlled territory. But five-year-old Fatima Abu Salah took a bullet through the thigh.”
On the same day, a fifty five year-old Palestinian man was killed when an Israeli shell smashed into his home in the occupied West Bank. A thirteen year old boy was seriously injured by heavy machine gun fire from Israeli troops near Karni/Mintar crossing in Gaza.
Both of these serious incidents were not reported in any of the hourly newscasts we monitored, and not on either Morning Edition or All Things Considered.
The very next day several of NPR’s prime-time morning newscasts led with the news that ten Israelis had been injured by a bomb that exploded in northern Israel (it was later reported that one person had been killed, but that was not known at the time NPR broadcast the news.)
Thus NPR demonstrated that the injury of ten Israelis was important and newsworthy, while attacks that seriously jeopardized the lives of 50 toddlers, and killed and injured civilians including children were not newsworthy just because the victims were Palestinian.
There are many other such examples that can be cited since the Intifada
began, which are detailed on Ali Abunimah’s website as linked above .
*NPR provides partial reports which misinform listeners. For example:
On March 2, NPR’s 9.00 AM newscast reported that Israeli troops in Gaza had shot dead a Palestinian man citing only the Israeli army’s version of events which was that the man was shot dead while trying to plant a roadside bomb targeting an Israeli military patrol. Several other news agencies were reporting at the same time that the dead man was a vagrant known to spend a lot of time in the area, and to be suffering from a mental illness. Israel later admitted to killing the man in error.
*NPR rarely mentions the fact of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and
Gaza Strip. In a news spot on March 16, reporter Jennifer Ludden made a
very rare reference to “Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem,” but this is often downplayed or simply ignored. Similarly, a report by Jennifer Ludden on Israeli house demolitions and destruction of Palestinian property in the Gaza Strip allowed Israeli military personnel to make the claim that these measures were necessary for “security” but made no reference to the fact that destruction of property and collective punishment are strictly banned by the Fourth Geneva Convention (All Things Considered, February 19).
ADC Action Alert: