Thursday, January 25, 2007

Inskeep Shines

I've been waiting since November for NPR to host Jimmy Carter; today they finally got around to bringing him on for an interview. Steve Inskeep gets the nod for this hatchet job on Carter's latest book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. This interview is remarkable for it's complete unwillingness to address the substance (Israeli oppression of Palestinians and land confiscation) of Carter's book and for the fact that every question Inskeep asks is an attack.

Here's how this slam on Carter's book begins (before the interview even starts):
Renee Montagne: "He’s been accused of getting some facts wrong, of mislabeling maps, and slanting the book against Israel."
Steve Inskeep: "Some supporters of Israel were especially unhappy with the title, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. Some members of an advisory board at his Carter Center resigned."

And here are the questions Inskeep asks:
  • "Could you just make briefly the best case you can for why apartheid is the right word to use?"
  • "Why not just describe that rather than bring in this word that’s freighted with so much history from another place?"
  • "Would you describe for us, simply because the book has been criticized for its details, how did you write the book?"
  • "Well, you’ve been challenged in your recollections of’s been alleged....less reasonable than might actually have been the case. What was your version based on? Did you go back to notes and other documents that you had from the time?"
  • "But when you recollect...were you working from your own notes?"
  • "Ken Stein...has alleged that his recollection of that meeting is somewhat different."
  • "There’s also been some criticism which you addressed this week at Brandeis...a sentence on page 213 of your book...."
  • "Has that set you flipping through the pages of the book to see if there’s anything else there that you maybe just wasn’t expressed the way you intended?"
  • "You mention you’ve been labeled an anti-Semite. You do use the word apartheid...which defenders of Israel regarded as a label that called into a lot of bad associations...would you agree that kind of labeling is not very productive?"
I don't have any problem with challenging Carter, but Inskeep doesn't even once probe any of the following assertions that Carter makes: "Forced separation within the West Bank…total domination and oppression of Palestinians by the dominant Israeli military," "the horrible oppression and persecution of the Palestinian people," "massive Israeli confiscation of land and colonization of its choice sites," and "the apparently permanent acquisition, confiscation and colonization of choice sites throughout the West Bank." Instead, Inskeep attacks Carter's book with innuendo and second-hand criticism because if he were to address the issue of Israeli oppression and land confiscation, the facts of Israeli injustice would be irrefutable and indefensible.

Oh, and if this slam weren't enough, Inskeep promises that a critic of Carter's book will be interviewed on tomorrow's show. I'll wager that it won't be so hostile.


Anonymous said...

NPR get off the air!

Unknown said...

Ouch, this is so typical. It makes me sad. Surely, even they must see their own bias.

If anyone missed it, this is Israeli/Palestine conflict expert Norman Finkelstein on Democracynow!:

Take the example, a couple of weeks ago, Anderson Cooper's producer called me, said they wanted to do a segment on me, having to do with the Middle East, because he was in the Arab world. I said, “Don't waste your time. It's never going to get on the air. I know how it works.” They said, “No, no. We're sending down a camera crew.” They sent down a camera crew, sent down the producer, interviewed me for two-and-a-half hours, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30. I said, “It's never going to get on. I know.” Well, she said, “No, no, no. We invested the money.” Long story short, it was killed. It was supposed to be on that night.

Life As I Know It Now said...

I listened to this interview with growing disgust. I'm sorry, but when WFUI, out of Indianapolis, calls me about funding support I am going to have to say NO. When NPR can go back to being a nonpartisian, fact based news reporting organization, then I will send them some of my hard earned dollars. Until then forget it! I don't want to contribute to Faux news jr.