May 15, 2003

I LOOKED LAST NIGHT for some postings or reports on how (or even whether) the NPR protests went yesterday, but I didn’t find anything. Now there’s this report, with pictures, from Boston. And here’s a story from Cleveland, one from Fresno, and another from Nashville. Sounds like there were quite a few.

I suspect that the alienation of the Jewish community by its mideast and war coverage poses a real problem for NPR. I know that NPR thinks it does.

UPDATE: Reader Dan Shmikler sends this link to photos of the Chicago protest, and adds:

The local NPR affiliate, WBEZ, interviewed me at length but so far I haven’t heard any report on the air.

One message I tried to emphasize with the WBEZ reporter, and other media who interviewed me, was that the people protesting and upset with NPR’s Middle East coverage are historically hard-core NPR listeners and supporters. As I told them, I have a cabinet full of NPR mugs that I won’t drink from anymore. I would think that they should be concerned that they are alienating a significant part of their core audience.

It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the country follows the lead of Boston activists, and starts going to the corporate sponsors of NPR to ask them to stop their support. WBUR lost over $1 million due to this approach.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that happened. I know that NPR is trying to reach out to these people, but I don’t think that’s enough. The demonstrable bias of the coverage — and NPR’s seeming smugness about it — its the problem, and outreach won’t help that. NPR needs to freshen up its coverage, and quit regarding the notoriously biased and antisemitic BBC as a role model.

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