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July 29, 2008

NPR's Gradstein fills in at The Washington Post

National Public Radio and The Washington Post are, perhaps, the two major U.S. news media criticized most consistently by CAMERA for anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian bias in their news reporting.

For the next few weeks or more critiques may be of the “two birds with one stone” variety: With its Jerusalem bureau chief, Griff Witte, on leave in the United States, The Post has turned to NPR’s long-time Israel correspondent Linda Gradstein as its special correspondent in Jerusalem.

CAMERA’s Web site archives dozens of examples of Ms. Gradstein’s slanted reporting, from the early 1990s to the present. Typical was her work for NPR during the bloodiest days of the “second intifada.” In the spring of 2002 Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism went unnamed on NPR, their stories depersonalized, while coverage of accidental Arab casualties of Israeli counter-terrorism received detailed, human interest coverage. Ms. Gradstein’s techniques have included stacking the deck with Palestinian sources; giving them more air time, often much more, than allotted to official Israeli representatives; and citing anti-government and even anti-Zionist Jews without properly identifying them.

Nevertheless, her dispatch, “Olmert: No Accord on Jerusalem This Year” (July 29) for The Post was relatively straight-forward and informative. Her four concluding paragraphs touched on a five-day old development the newspaper virtually had avoided — Palestinian infighting between Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) and Fatah (Movement for the Liberation of Palestine) that has included at least six deaths and several hundred arrests.

Compared to the newspaper’s coverage of Arab-Israeli news earlier in the month, Ms. Gradstein played it straight. Epitomizing Post bias was the blatant editorializing in a news article (“Obama Ends Mideast Swing With Vow to Back Israel, Peace Talks,” July 24), which described Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel as a response, “typically after military operations in the [Gaza] Strip or the Israeli-occupied West Bank.” This obvious and erroneous revisionism inverted cause-and-effect and shifted responsibility.

Two questions immediately arise for Post readers: 1) How is it that NPR’s Linda Gradstein filed a more workmanlike dispatch than the paper’s regular Israel correspondents have been doing lately, and 2) Why, given Ms. Gradstein’s long and documented pro-Palestinian bias, did The Post turn to her as a pitch-hitter in the first place?

Posted by ER at July 29, 2008 05:13 PM

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