How Biased is NPR?

NPR's Middle East coverage features repeated omissions of fact, misleading lack of context, and sympathetic coverage of Palestinian grievances.  This is coupled with dismissive reporting of the difficulties faced by Israel.  It adds up to a pattern of distortion. Although blatant falsehoods have been broadcast, the real problem with NPR's Middle East coverage is an invidious pattern of double standards.
NPR has invariably countered criticism of individual, one-sided programs by claiming that its coverage is balanced over time. In response, CAMERA has undertaken multiple, in-depth studies that have confirmed the severe lack of balance "over time." In three separate studies in less than two years, CAMERA found NPR programming severely skewed, giving substantially more air-time to Arab/Palestinian and pro-Arab speakers than to Israeli and pro-Israeli voices and often omitting any Israeli or pro-Israeli voice at all:

September 26--November 26, 2000

After the first two months of the current Palestinian Arab terror war against Israel, CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America - issued a 32-page report, "A Record of Bias: National Public Radio's Coverage of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Sept. 26-Nov. 26, 2000."  
Arab and pro-Arab speakers were given 77% more time on the air (in words spoken) than Israeli and pro-Israel speakers. Entirely one-sided programs were commonplace, whether devoted to assailing Ariel Sharon as a "war criminal," to characterizing Israel as a "Jim Crow" nation which should be done away with in its "apartheid" form, or to blaming Israel for excessive violence, anti-American riots in Arab capitals, and erosion of a supposed Arab commitment to peace. There were 41 segments in which only Palestinian/Arab or pro-Arab speakers were heard and just 24 programs in which only Israeli or pro-Israeli speakers were heard.

March 27--April 10, 2002

In a ten-day review of all major news and interview programs during a time of unprecedented terrorism, including the Passover massacre of 29 people, the Matza restaurant attack in Haifa that killed 14, and multiple other lethal bombings and shootings, 62 Palestinians or other Arabs were heard on NPR, often expressing bitter accusations against Israel, while just 32 Israelis were interviewed. Numerous anti-Israel speakers, some extreme, were also heard denouncing the Jewish state. Adam Shapiro, notorious for defending Yasir Arafat in his Ramallah compound, was featured in a segment and Jeff Halper, who advocates the end of Israel as a Jewish state, was heard. Not a single Jewish victim of the terrorist onslaught was mentioned by name, not one bereaved family was interviewed, and not one injured survivor was the focus of a story.

June 1-- July 31, 2002

In a two-month review of all major news and interview programs, CAMERA found, again, only 41% of the speakers in Middle East related stories were Israeli or pro-Israeli while 59% were Palestinian/Arab or pro-Arab. Even smaller percentages of actual time allotment were given to the Israeli side which received only 35% in terms of words spoken compared to the Arab/Palestinian's 65%. Segments that excluded any Israeli voice while presenting exclusively Arab or pro-Arab views numbered 29, compared to just 9 in which only Israeli views were heard with no Arab voices.

Partisan language

According to NPR, the only "moderates" in the Arab-Israeli conflict are Palestinians and other Arabs. In CAMERA's June-July 2002 study, only Marwan Barghouti (now on trial by Israel for his involvement in terrorism), Sari Nusseibeh, Khalil Shikaki, Madi Abdel Hadi, along with Egyptian officials and the government of Saudi Arabia, were termed "moderate." No Israeli or Israeli leader was described as moderate. Israelis were called "hard-line" or "hard-liners." Hamas officials were never described as "hard-line."  They were referred to as "Hamas official," "Hamas leader," "Hamas spokesman," or "Hamas founder."   The founder of Hamas, one of the world's premier terrorist organizations,  Sheik Ahmed Yassin, was termed a "spiritual leader" who is "charismatic" and "popular."

Although various Arab leaders were labeled "popular" or "prominent," including Marwan Barghouti, Sheik Yassin, Sari Nusseibeh, and Hanan Ashrawi, no Israelis were characterized as "popular" or "prominent" (During this time, the New York Times ran multiple articles noting the popularity of the Israeli government.)

NPR's response to documentation of its biased coverage has been to hire a public relations firm (the DCS group) to improve its image.  We would all be better served if NPR spent publicly donated money to remove the bias from