Minnesotans Against Terrorism
P.O. Box 368, Hopkins, MN 55343-0368.
EMBARGO UNTIL 5 P.M., May 14, 2003
MINNESOTANS JOIN NATIONWIDE PROTEST TO DEMAND CHANGE
IN NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO'S BIASED COVERAGE
OF TERRORISM AGAINST ISRAELIS
Terrorists . . . Unless Their Victims Are Israelis, According
Saint Paul, MN, May 14, 2003 -- Why does National
Public Radio (NPR) refuse to identify Palestinian homicide
bombers who deliberately target Israeli civilians as "terrorists"?
That's the question asked by concerned listeners and members
of Minnesota Public Radio who demonstrated today outside NPR's
Minnesota affiliate, KNOW FM. The Minnesota "NPR: Tell the
Truth" campaign, organized by the non-profit, non-sectarian
grassroots organization Minnesotans Against Terrorism, is
part of a nationwide coordinated protest against NPR which
took place today in 35 cities across the United States.
"Israel is protecting itself against terrorism by carefully
targeting terrorists and their leaders, while Palestinian
terrorists deliberately target civilians - women, children,
teenagers and the elderly. NPR covers all these actions as
though they were morally equivalent, part of a 'cycle of violence'"
said Minneapolis attorney Mark Rotenberg, President and co-founder
of Minnesotans Against Terrorism. "There is no moral equivalence
and NPR must point out the difference. Otherwise it simply
misses the story."
One of the issues protested is NPR's refusal to call the
Palestinian killers of Israeli civilians by their true name
- "terrorists," rather than euphemistically as "militants"
or "activists" even though it will use the word "terrorism"
to describe attacks against civilians in other parts of the
world. In one egregious example, on March 4, 2003, an Islamic
extremist exploded a bomb amidst a crowd of civilians killing
more than 20, including himself. Less than a day later, another
Islamic extremist exploded a bomb on a civilian bus killing
more than 15, including himself. In consecutive news segments
on the March 5th broadcast of NPR's Morning Edition,
the first attack was described as a "terrorist bombing" with
"Muslim insurgents" the likely perpetrators. The report offered
no explanation why the attack might have occurred and in particular
nothing that might have been construed as a justification.
That attack was in the Philippines and was carried out by
the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
By contrast, the second attack was subsequently reported
by NPR without using any form of the word "terror" and included
nothing about who the likely perpetrators might have been,
describing them only as "militants". The attack, and similar
attacks in the past, were described and implicitly justified
as a "campaign . . . against occupation." This second attack
took place in Israel, targeted Israeli civilians riding a
city bus and was carried out by Palestinians.
(Minnesotans Against Terrorism, page 2 of 3)
"NPR reporting on Palestinian terrorism and the victim's
response to it should use the same terms and style as it uses
to report other terrorism attacks in other parts of the world,
e.g. the World Trade Center attack. By not doing so, NPR
implicitly suggests that terrorism directed at Israeli civilians
is somehow more acceptable than terrorism targeted against
other civilians," Rotenberg said.
NPR's selective use of the word terrorism is symptomatic
of its general bias against Israel in its coverage of the
Israeli- Palestinian conflict. The media watchdog group
CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting
in America), in three separate in-depth studies over two years,
has found NPR programming severely skewed, giving substantially
more air-time to Arab/Palestinian and pro-Arab speakers than
to Israeli voices, often omitting entirely any Israeli or
pro-Israel voice. For example, in a ten day review of all
major news and interview programs between March 27, 2002 and
April 10, 2002 - a period of unprecedented terrorism against
Israelis, including the Passover massacre of 29 people attending
a seder and the Matza restaurant attack in Haifa killing 14
-- 62 Palestinians and other Arabs were heard on NPR, often
expressing bitter accusations against Israel, while just 32
Israelis were interviewed. CAMERA also found that not a single
Jewish victim of the terrorist onslaught was mentioned by
name, not one bereaved family was interviewed, and not one
injured survivor was the focus of a story.
In another study of the two month period between June 1,
2002 and July 31, 2002, CAMERA found again that only 41% of
the speakers in Middle East related stories were Israeli or
pro- Israel, while 59% were Palestinian/Arab or pro-Arab.
The Israeli side received only 35% of words spoken, compared
to the Arab/Palestinians 65%. Segments that excluded any
Israeli voice while presenting exclusively Arab or pro-Arab
views numbered 29, compared to just 9 in which only Israeli
views were heard with no Arab voices.
"Our immediate goal is to make the Minnesota public aware
that NPR's Middle East coverage is biased and untrustworthy,"
The Minnesota protesters are not seeking a boycott or other
economic sanctions against Minnesota Public Radio, but instead
seek constructive engagement on this issue. Concerned listeners,
members and patrons of MPR should:
- Write or call National Public Radio and express their
dissatisfaction with the unfair and biased reporting on
terrorism against Israel.
National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: (202) 414-2000 Fax: (202) 414-3324
Senior Vice President, news
Minnesota Public Radio
45 East Seventh Street, Saint Paul, MN 55101
- Demand that NPR report terrorist attacks on civilians
by the same standards and terms, whether in the United States,
Israel or any part of the globe.
- Ask Minnesota Public Radio to request that NPR cover the
issues fairly, giving at least equal airtime to Israeli
victims of Palestinian terrorism as it grants to the terrorist
-- more --
(Minnesotans Against Terrorism, page 3 of 3)
- Encourage Minnesota Public Radio to broadcast an open
dialogue on NPR's coverage of terrorism against Israelis.
Similar protests took place today in the following cities:
Amherst (MA), Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland,
Columbus, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Fairfield (CT), Fresno,
Houston, Indianapolis, Hartford, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St.
Paul, Nashville, Newark, New Haven, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia,
Pittsburgh, Portland (OR); Rochester (NY), San Diego, San
Francisco, Seattle, Selden (Long Island), St. Louis, Tampa/St.
Petersburg and Washington, D.C. Dallas is planning a similar
demonstration for a different date. In some cities other
than Minneapolis/St.Paul, protesters are calling for boycotts
by members and sponsors of public radio.
About Minnesotans Against Terrorism
The mission of Minnesotans Against Terrorism (MAT) is to
influence public opinion in support of the war against terrorism.
MAT promotes fair, accurate media coverage of terrorism against
Israelis and Americans. The non-profit, nondenominational
and multi-partisan organization, co-founded by Minneapolis
attorney Mark Rotenberg and marketing executive Marc Grossfield,
who both witnessed a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem in December
2001, disseminates information and educational materials and
sponsors events in support of its mission.
For more information, please contact Minnesotans Against
Terrorism at MinnesotansAgainstTerrorism@yahoo.com or write
Minnesotans Against Terrorism, P.O. Box 368, Hopkins, MN 55343-0368,
or visit our website: http://www.MinnesotansAgainstTerrorism.org/
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