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April 04, 2005

Undeserved Self-Congratulations for "Nightline"

"People don't necessarily want to hear both sides of the story, which is what 'Nightline' did best," Leroy Sievers, who was until last November an executive producer at NBC's "Nightline," opined today in the Washington Post. He reiterates this sentiment in an op-ed today in the Los Angeles Times:

Gone are the days when someone might actually want to hear the "other side," maybe because people are worried about hearing something that might actually make sense--or worse yet, something that might cause them to reconsider their opinions.

No, it's much simpler to denigrate, to throw charges of "bias" at their heads, brush them back. Now just covering the "other side" is seen as damning evidence of bias, if not treason.


Sievers' praise for "Nightline" supposedly covering "both sides of the story" despite audience preference for a one-sided account is disconcerting, to say the least, in light of CAMERA's documented evidence of "Nightline"'s overwhelmingly one-sided coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For instance, an 18-month study , from January 2003 until June 2004, demonstrated that the broadcasts overwhelmingly were focused--almost always critically--on Israeli conduct, policies and influence, while coverage of Palestinian issues was minimal, and only tentatively critical. In addition, one-third of the speakers on the Israeli side spoke against Israel or its policies. In contrast, there was virtually no internal discord on the Arab side.

Sievers, now a visiting professor at USC's Annenberg School for Communication, has it all backwards. All along, critics were urging "Nightline" to examine "the other side" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while "Nightline" kept on dishing out a one-sided story, airing Palestinian grievances and ignoring Israeli views.

On a related note, recent news reports reveal that "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel will be leaving the show in December after 25 years, and the program's future is uncertain.

Posted by TS at April 4, 2005 04:06 PM