Archive for the ‘NPR’ Category

The Lie Insertion Key

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
The lie key

The lie key

Here is yet another example of how much of the media are incapable of writing an honest story that concerns Israel.

On my way to the gym this morning I listened to an NPR story about how Christian volunteers are helping out at a Jewish agricultural community called Shilo.

The article by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro is entitled “Christians Provide Free Labor On Jewish Settlements,” and mentions pointedly that the volunteers pay their own way. The implication is that this is somehow scandalous. Would they also write “Animal lovers provide free labor at shelters?”

The sixth paragraph of the article delivers the payload. Remember that this is a news story, not an editorial:

The problem is that the world doesn’t recognize this West Bank settlement or any other as part of Israel. The Palestinians and most of the international community view the Jewish settlements in the West Bank as illegal.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast War and has established settlements throughout the territory, which the Palestinians are seeking for part of a future state. The settlements are one of the most contentious issues between the Israelis and Palestinians, and have been a major obstacle in attempts to restart peace negotiations.

This is presented in a matter-of-fact tone — “ho hum, everyone knows this.” In fact, I am certain that ‘journalists’ at NPR, the BBC and the New York Times have a special key on their keyboards to pop this into every article they write on the subject of Israel.

Nevertheless, every line of it is misleading. It is true that the climate of opinion in, say, the UN, tends to be anti-settlement. But it’s an inconvenient truth that a very good case can be made for the legality of Jewish communities in the parts of Mandate Palestine that happened to be occupied by Jordan from 1948-67.

Without going into too much detail, the right of Jews to settle anywhere in Palestine was expressed by the “international community” in the League of Nations Mandate. Security Council resolutions demanded that borders be established by negotiations, which have never succeeded. And attempts to apply the Geneva Conventions to delegitimize such settlements are a very far stretch.

Yes, the Palestinians don’t agree with this, and want the ‘West Bank’ (Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem) — as well as the rest of Israel — for yet another Arab state. But why should we give credit to their racist desire to end Jewish self-determination and ethnically cleanse, for a second time in 63 years, this land? What have they done for the past 100 years to qualify themselves for statehood other than terrorism and murder?

The NPR-BBC-NYT boilerplate says that communities like Shilo are “a major obstacle to the attempt to restart negotiations.” But they are only an obstacle because the Arabs insist that they are. The real major obstacle is that the Arabs want Israel to give them everything — including agreeing to evacuate settlements and a return to 1949 lines — as a precondition to negotiations, rather than an outcome of them.

Note also that it says that “Israel captured the West Bank … and has established settlements.” But Jews lived there before the Arab conquest and ethnic cleansing of 1948. Why shouldn’t they come back? And who did they ‘capture’ it from? Jordan, who had grabbed it in 1948 contravening the UN partition resolution — not the ‘Palestinians’ who claim it!

There are many motivations for journalists, academics and politicians to push the settlements-are-illegal line. Some of them are ideological, because you just can’t be ‘progressive’ today if you don’t support the (in truth) very reactionary Arab cause. Some are payoffs — European politicians concerned with oil, or academics who get Saudi money (Georgetown University, from which NPR’s reporter Garcia-Navarro graduated, got $20 million of it in 2005).

Regardless of the reason, the insertion of the very partisan Arab point of view into ‘news’ stories as background is universal today in the left-of-center media. And regardless of the reason it is bad, biased journalism.

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Moty & Udi and the Arab Spring

Monday, August 15th, 2011

The view of the unrest in the Arab world that’s presented in some of the media is remarkably far from reality. In a recent NPR program, the significance of Hosni Mubarak’s trial was discussed by several commentators:

After Egyptians toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February, many thought that their revolution, driven by peaceful, mass demonstrations, would be duplicated elsewhere in the Middle East with the same powerful results.

All too soon, they saw on their TV screens that would not be the case, as uprisings in Libya and Syria brought bloodshed and slaughter. That led to uncertainty and fear in Egypt, because many agree with activist Hossam al-Hamalawy, who says that Egypt’s revolution cannot fully succeed on its own.

“You cannot build a democracy in a country where you are surrounded by a sea or an ocean of dictatorships,” he said.

In the meantime, many who brought about Egypt’s revolution began to lose hope. They watched as the Supreme Military Council, which now holds power, cracked down on protesters and slowed down change, says Hossam Bahgat, the director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

“There were many days and weeks in which many of us felt our transition is being blocked by the interim forces,” he said.

But then Mubarak was put on trial, wheeled into the courtroom on a hospital bed, and put in a cage used for common criminals. It shocked Egypt and the wider Arab world, says Bahgat.

“Seeing Mubarak on trial will strengthen the popular demand for a democracy and dignity and full accountability,” he said. And, he added, it could also “further terrify these autocrats and once again deliver the message that their days in power are numbered” …

According to Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics, what is taking place across the Arab world is a genuine revolution.

“There is a new order in place. And I think there’s a rupture,” Gerges said. “The rupture that has to do with the mood and psychology of the Arab people. Citizens who are empowered, emboldened. They have rights as opposed to being subjects, ruled by their powerful leaders like Mubarak.”

The message in this is that there are two alternatives: the old order, represented by Mubarak, Qaddafi and Assad, and the new one, characterized by “democracy and dignity and full accountability” and “citizens who are empowered, emboldened. They have rights as opposed to being subjects.”

Of course there is another alternative: that is that these conservative dictatorships will be replaced by revolutionary Islamist regimes. This is precisely what happened in Iran in 1979.

Islamism is waxing strong in the Middle East today. Lebanon, a weak democracy, has been all but taken over by the Islamist Hizballah. In Turkey, formerly a secular democracy, the ruling Islamist AKP has systematically crushed its secular opposition in the military and the legal system, has deliberately wrecked its relationship with Israel, and is making noises about intervening in Syria (such intervention would be on behalf of Sunni Islamists, not democrats). In the Palestinian arena, only US dollars and IDF soldiers prevent the radical Islamist Hamas, which already controls Gaza, from getting control of all the territories.

Destabilizing forces are at work in Egypt, the largest Arabic-speaking nation in the Middle East:

Egyptian troops escorted by tanks entered the Sinai Peninsula region on Friday in an attempt to put an end to the anarchy that has erupted there since the fall of the Mubarak regime.

The aim of the operation was to halt Bedouin control of the northern Sinai area, which allows for the transfer of weapons to the Gaza Strip through underground tunnels…

In July, five people were killed when dozens of gunmen tried to storm a police station in al-Arish. The gunmen and hundreds more, reported to be Islamists, were wearing black and carrying black flags reading “There is no God but God.” Egypt’s military has detained 15 people suspected of involvement in clashes between gunmen and police in northern Sinai, including 10 Palestinians.

Following the attack flyers were distributed in the peninsula, threatening more attacks on police. The flyers were signed “Al-Qaida in Sinai.”

What’s coming in Egypt? Barry Rubin tells us that it’s the Muslim Brotherhood:

The West is still in denial about the Brotherhood’s role in Egypt. Many Egyptians are just becoming resigned to living in a country that’s increasingly Islamist, more Islamic-oriented, and perhaps even run by the Brotherhood. I don’t think the Brotherhood is about to take power in Egypt. I think it is about to become the single most powerful organization in Egypt and that it will play a central role in writing a new constitution and taking over institutions. More likely, within five years the Brotherhood will either be running Egypt or engaged in a very bloody battle to seize control over the state.

Democracy is not even one of the contenders, especially when you consider the fact that Egypt will soon be facing significant problems feeding its people.

In Syria, it appears that Assad and his regime understand that they are in a fight for their lives (literally). They are pulling out all of the stops, sending tanks against civilians, bombarding cities from naval vessels, etc. When the dust clears either Assad will remain (unlikely) or he will be replaced by those forces strong enough to take power. It’s not clear yet who this will be, but I think we can be sure it won’t be the Facebooking students.

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NPR presents 4:16 of anti-Israel propaganda

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Four minutes and 16 seconds on NPR’s premier daily news program, “All Things Considered,” is a major story. The longest one on Thursday, July 28’s program, about the difficulties facing the spouses of US military personnel, clocked in at 4:59.

Four minutes and 16 seconds were provided as a platform for Israel-bashing by one left-wing Israeli retired general, one Arab representing Fatah, the Arab terrorist organization that has killed more Israelis than any other — let’s call it what it is — and Daniel Levy, the co-founder of J Street who famously said (video here)

Maybe, if this collective Jewish presence can only survive by the sword, then Israel really ain’t a good idea.

Did I mention that these gentlemen are in the US on a tour sponsored by the same phony ‘pro-Israel’ lobby, J Street? NPR did, but its piece didn’t talk about J Street’s funding from anti-Israel sources, or its history of lobbying against sanctions on Iran, for the Goldstone report, and for the condemnation of Israel in the UN Security Council.

As expected, the speakers blamed Israel for the lack of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, and predicted disaster if Israel did not preemptively surrender to Arab demands. I won’t repeat most of it — you can read it at NPR’s site. But the most outrageous statement of all was made by Levy:

The U.S. hasn’t helped matters, says Daniel Levy of the New American Foundation. He says that the Obama administration tried, but failed, to get its partners — the U.N., European Union and Russia — to sign onto a statement encouraging the Palestinians to drop the U.N. bid. The text, Levy says, looked like it was drafted in Jerusalem.

“That’s where we got stuck. I think that isn’t helping get past this U.N. bump. It’s probably going to make a U.N. vote more likely and … this kind of approach, it’s really beginning to marginalize and almost make irrelevant U.S. diplomacy on such an important issue,” he says.

So what extremist demand from Jerusalem did the US ask for that made it impossible to get the Quartet’s agreement? Let me quote a news report:

One of the reasons the Quartet was unable to issue a statement was because [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov reportedly objected to a formula whereby the Quartet would have endorsed renewing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations based on a return to the 1967 lines, with agreed upon swaps, and Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Lavrov – reflecting Russia’s desire to play to the Arab League – wasn’t enamored of the Jewish state part of the equation. And it wasn’t only Lavrov.

According to Israeli officials, the EU’s Ashton came to the meeting hoping to get the Quartet to call for a renewal of talks based on US President Barack Obama’s parameters of the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps, but without other language Obama used during his two Middle East speeches in May: language much more amenable to Israel that affirmed the country as a Jewish state and called for ironclad security arrangements before any future Israeli withdrawal.

In other words, the Russians, who represented Arab interests in the negotiations, wanted an agreement calling for Israel to withdraw to (more or less) pre-1967 lines without getting anything in return — not even recognition of what will be left of Israel as a Jewish state!

The recognition issue is key, and the Palestinian Arabs have consistently refused to agree to it. Even the language of the Obama plan, which represented a sharp shift in US policy toward the Arabs, was not enough for them.

The NPR piece didn’t mention recognition of the Jewish state, didn’t mention the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to negotiate anything other than acceptance of all of its demands, and — this goes without saying — didn’t discuss doubts about the ultimate intentions of the Arab side.

It was 4 minutes and 16 seconds of unrelieved propaganda, without even a nod toward balance.

Remember this when your local public radio station asks for donations. I will.

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Who will keep NPR on the air?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I admit that I’m feeling a little bad about the hit that NPR is going to take, as the Republican Congress almost certainly slashes funding for public broadcasting. Keep in mind that while NPR itself only receives a small amount of money directly from the government, the local stations that buy their programming get a lot. And it’s all likely to get cut.

I’m not the average consumer of news. I don’t have a cable connection and I don’t watch TV, ever. I read real paper newspapers and various Internet sites, and I listen to the radio. Radio has always had a special place in my life, from my childhood before there even was TV, through my job at a radio station that paid my way through college, to my compulsive listening today.

And I have to admit that most of what I hear on the radio is absolute crap. The music (OK, maybe that’s a generational thing), the ‘news’ and the talk. Except public radio stations and NPR, which — both in production values and content — try to do better. I’ll miss the classical music on my local station if it doesn’t make it.

But there is a big problem with NPR, and the fact that it is generally biased in the liberal direction is not it. One compensates. There are plenty of stations broadcasting very aggressively conservative programming. That’s fine, too. I listen to all of them, from the local Limbaugh/Hannity/Beck outlet to the extreme-left KPFA Berkeley.

It’s that NPR’s approach to issues concerning Israel has always been a systematic, highly sophisticated and effective campaign to influence Americans to stop supporting the Jewish state. It’s much more than a naive left-wing slant (or even obvious propagandizing like KPFA). NPR is an information war enemy of Israel.

In particular, they use the ’emotive bias technique’ which I described here (2007) as a ‘psychological warfare technique’:

…psychologists have demonstrated that experiences with emotional content are much more likely to be remembered and more capable of affecting belief than simple recitations of fact without such content. And what NPR does — expertly, and so often that it must be deliberate — is to present the Israeli side as a recitation of facts, this many killed, that many injured. Then they present the Arab or Palestinian side in an interview with crying children, grieving relatives, and angry young men. The Palestinian story is always told in an emotional first-person voice, thus making it much more powerful than the dry, factual Israeli story.

They also selectively omit important context and allow clearly false statements to be made by interviewees without note or challenge. Virtually all of their reporting about the Israeli-Arab conflict has these characteristics.

They present a consistent picture: Israel is powerful, Israel is oppressive, Israel is cruel. The conflict is about Israel’s ‘treatment’ of the Palestinian Arabs. Hizballah’s missiles and the Iranian nuclear program are not connected to it.

This isn’t accidental. I wouldn’t even say that it’s because their reporters all happen to have the same anti-Israel bias. It’s just too systematic. It can only be the result of a deliberate policy.

As I wrote yesterday in my post about the exposure of the ugly prejudices of a top NPR executive, the identities of NPR’s donors are a closely-guarded secret. But consider that executive Ron Schiller was prepared to accept a $5 million donation from someone who clearly represented himself as an agent of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked group, one whose website (created for the purpose of the sting) indicated that its goal was “to spread acceptance of Sharia around the world.”

Do you doubt that NPR has already accepted donations from real organizations and individuals with similar agendas? I don’t.

Do you doubt that NPR is influenced by its big donors? I don’t. How can it not be?

Do you doubt that when Congress stops providing funds for public radio — and thereby reduces NPR’s income significantly — that the same crowd that funds J Street will step up to keep them on the air? I don’t.

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NPR executive exposed as anti-Israel and a snob to boot

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

I’ve written a lot about NPR, which has persistently displayed an anti-Israel and pro-Arab bias in its reporting about the Middle East.

Of course they are not required to disclose their donors, so it’s hard to accuse them of being whores. But thanks to James O’Keefe, the conservative activist that embarrassed Acorn by impersonating a pimp with his prostitute, we can actually see the transaction taking place.

In O’Keefe’s video we see Ron Schiller, former President of the NPR Foundation and Senior Vice President, Development — that is, top fund-raiser — saying things that we always knew they thought but that they usually don’t dare say out loud.

Schiller let it hang out after a pair of actors pretending to be members of a fake Muslim-Brotherhood-linked organization offered to contribute $5 million to NPR.

In the video below, you can watch Schiller nod in agreement as ‘Ibrahim Kassam’, one of the ‘Muslims’, expresses his appreciation for NPR’s giving voice to the Hamas and Hizballah point of view rather than that of Israel (at about 3:20), and nods again (about 7:20) when his interlocutor talks about Jews controlling the media. At about 7:45 he laughs a bit when he’s told that they have a “sort of a joke” calling NPR “National Palestinian Radio” because of the favorable coverage. His associate Betsy Liley, Senior Director, Institutional Giving, laughs loudly, saying “that’s good, I like that.”

Schiller nods yet again when  ‘Ibrahim’ says that he’s “not too upset about a little less Jewish influence, Jewish money into NPR, but, uh, the Zionist influence is quite substantial elsewhere…” Schiller responds (8:16)

I don’t actually find it at NPR…the Zionist or pro-Israel, even among funders. I mean it’s there among those who own newspapers, obviously, but nobody owns NPR.

‘Ibrahim’ says “what Israel does, I don’t think can be excused,” and Schiller nods again. I’m surprised his head doesn’t come loose. Is he worried that someone is wearing a wire?

There is plenty more.  Schiller says that it was absolutely right to fire Juan Williams (see here and also here) after he said that Muslims on airplanes made him nervous. The Republican party has been hijacked by uneducated, xenophobic racists, he says. Most Americans are stupid, he suggests.

Watch the supercilious snob make a fool of himself:

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Schiller (apparently no relation to NPR CEO Vivian Schiller) no longer works for NPR. And they positively launched him under the bus:

In response, Dana Davis Rehm, NPR’s senior vice president of marketing, communications and external relations, said the organization is “appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for.”

Schiller had already announced plans to leave NPR prior to the controversy [that is, prior to its breaking in the media — ed.]. Rehm also said that the phony Islamic organization tried to press NPR “to accept a $5-million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept.” — LA Times

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