Earlier this month I posted on NPR's false claim that in Israel "hate crimes are almost unknown." In addition to the post I contacted the Ombudsman with the following:
On Sunday, August 3rd, during the hourly five minute news updates, I repeatedly heard Linda Gradstein assert in reporting on the anti-gay killings in Israel that "The shooting has shocked many in Israel where hate crimes are almost unknown." This is false and misleading: 1) In May of 1990 an Israeli gunman killed 7 and wounded 10 Palestinian day laborers not far from Tel Aviv in Israel. 2) On August 5, 2005 an Israeli gunman killed four Israeli Arabs and wounding 13 others on a bus in Israel and 3) on August 17, 2005 - though not in Israel proper - an Israeli citizen killed 3 and wounded 2 random Palestinians near a settlement in the West Bank. Does NPR only consider deadly, unprovoked attacks "hate crimes" only if they don't involve Arab Israelis or Palestinians. You owe your listeners a correction and an apology.Well, about a week ago I received a "response" in my email from "NPR - Listener Care"
Dear Listener;Oh wow, NPR takes my comments seriously! And they might or might not address them on the Ombudsman's erratic (and often irrelevant) column. But no matter how inaccurate and slanted the coverage - NPR adheres to the highest journalistic standards. Hey, even if you point out specific falsehoods, NPR claims a commitment to factual reporting with historical context! If there were distortions and outright lies, no big deal because, you know, journalism is such an imperfect craft and mistakes can occur.
Thank you for contacting the NPR Office of the Ombudsman. We appreciate your taking the time to write regarding NPR's Middle East coverage and take your comments seriously.
For future reference, some of your concerns may be addressed on the Ombudsman's weekly column, which you can find on NPR's Ombudsman page.
Like many media outlets, NPR faces challenges in reporting events in the Middle East and elsewhere. No matter what the issue, however, NPR strives to adhere to the highest journalistic standards. Our goal is to report the stories factually and in context. The balance between the day's news and the historical context is always considered.
Because of intense interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, NPR makes available free transcripts of its coverage.
NPR's commitment is to ensure that its reporting of Middle East events will continue to provide an important and reliable service to our listeners.
Journalism is an imperfect craft and mistakes can occur. Your concern will be forwarded to the appropriate person within NPR's news division.
Office of the Ombudsman
I am so reassured...