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February 27, 2003

Bias accusations rankle NPR head

As is often the case, a story of interest gets passed about. I found this piece atMartin Kimel. This is a well -deserved poke at the public funded bias of NPR
By the time Kevin Klose arrived yesterday at a Baltimore Inner Harbor hotel to participate in a discussion titled "Israel and the Media: Balance or Bias?" the question had already been settled in the minds of many of those present.

Klose, CEO and president of National Public Radio, had come to the annual national meeting of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs to defend his network's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict against charges of bias against Israel. The organization is a coalition of advocacy groups committed to promoting Israel and issues important to American Jews.

U.S. and Israeli flags stood behind Klose as he sat on a raised platform. Copies of a sharply worded single-spaced, 22-page critique of an NPR series about the history of the conflict had been neatly stacked within easy reach of participants. And waves of skepticism toward the media in general, and especially NPR, buffeted Klose during the 90-minute session.

Through the words they choose and the people they interview, reporters routinely show unfairness - even bias - against Israel, many audience members declared.

"There is a great lack of trust and confidence, I think, of many people in this room toward NPR," said Robert Cohen of Tulsa, Okla. "A beginning journalism student would get an 'F' for balance," Cohen added, if NPR's work were submitted to a professor's review.

One audience member who said he lived in San Francisco called for NPR to submit its coverage to a review by an outside panel. A second audience member from Portland, Ore., pointedly asked about giving credence to Palestinian accusations of atrocities by Israeli forces. A third discussion participant who had come to Baltimore from New Jersey, claimed NPR reporters failed to reflect the anti-Semitic tones of a U.N. conference in South Africa last year. [more]