Matthew Bell is a Jerusalem-based Middle East reporter. He has been with The World since 2001 and has filed stories from cities across the US and abroad.
Palestinian demonstration in March 2011 (Photo: Matthew Bell)
Israelis are reacting to the leaked Romney comments about Palestinians having “no interest in peace with Israel” and being committed to Israel’s destruction.
The World’s Matthew Bell reports from Jerusalem.
Here is an example of bias, subsequent to the airing of the subject show:
In response to Romney’s extemporaneous Mid-East comments, The World’s Matthew Bell interviews a leftist Israeli NGO director and a Palestinian.
No one from the Israeli political right is introduced to provide balance. A right-wing perspective would have explained Israeli fears and the difficulties in reaching a peace settlement.
The upshot is that Romney’s words are portrayed as “scary.”
It has often been the case that NPR interviews Israeli leftists, as if they would balance comments made by Palestinians.
HaAretz opinions are often adduced, as if they represent Israeli public opinion. In Israel, HaAretz is a leftist newspaper with limited circulation. The corollary is that a listener would understand that the Israeli government does not represent the people’s views, which, as surveys show, is wrong.
By the way, not even once have I ever heard coverage by NPR of speeches by Palestinian clerics and leaders to their own people, in Arabic–from the promises to never give up the right of return, to the glorification of “martyrs.” That coverage alone would have explained why Israelis don’t believe that Palestinians want peace.
With respect to “martyrs,” I have never heard a single word on NPR about the naming of soccer teams, clubs and city squares after Palestinian bombers who murdered dozens of Israeli civilians. In contrast, any Israeli statement or action that could be construed as unhelpful to peace receives generous coverage by NPR.
Less bias in Middle East coverage would yield a richer, more accurate, and more informative broadcast. It would enable listeners to understand precisely where the roadblocks to peace are.