Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

NPR reporter defends one-sided report on Ilhan Omar

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | February 22, 2019

In response to an email I sent complaining that NPR had aired a one-sided, slanted report on the Ilhan Omar controversy, reporter Susan Davis replied that their coverage was “fair.” She emailed that the controversy was Omar’s fault, calling it “a self-inflicted PR mess by a sitting member of Congress.”

The report had been aired on NPR’s All Things Considered program, reportedly “the most listened-to, afternoon drive-time, news radio program in the country.”

Let’s look at what constituted Omar’s alleged “self-inflicted PR mess”: she mentioned the influence of a special interest lobby on politicians’ stances.

This is a widely understood reality. Politicians and others frequently discuss the influence of the NRA, the pharmaceutical lobby, and other special interest groups. Democrats periodically call out conservative lobbies; Republicans do the same for liberal ones. This is considered politics as usual.

That’s what Omar did.

Sequence of events

Let’s look at the sequence of events that led to the controversy over Omar:

1. Journalist Glenn Greenwald (who is Jewish but has also been accused of being “antisemitic”) tweeted: “GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib over their criticisms of Israel. It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.”

(The phrase “attacking free speech rights of Americans” refers to legislation to impede the right to boycott Israel; 75 percent of Americans oppose such legislation.”)

2. Omar retweeted Greenwald’s post with the comment: “It’s All About the Benjamins.” (Benjamins is a colloquial term for money – Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill.)

3. Pro-Israel journalist Batya Ungar-Sargon posted a sarcastic tweet saying she’d “like to know” who Omar “thinks is paying [sic] American politicians to be pro-Israel….”

4. Omar responded “AIPAC.”

AIPAC is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee – a lobbying organization that claims to be, and is widely regarded as, extremely influential in Congress.

In other words, the controversy began over Omar’s two tweets, a total of six words.

For this exchange, Israel partisans, and those who desire their campaign donations, called Omar “antisemitic.” (This epithet is frequently deployed against proponents of Palestinian rights. An Israeli Knesset member has explained that this is a frequently used “trick.”)

But Omar had not said anything about “Jews” or “Jewish.”

AIPAC and the Israel lobby

Omar had simply referred to a special interest lobbying group – an organization with an income of $230 million that refers openly to the “key role” it plays in advancing legislation.

Fortune magazine once ranked AIPAC “the second most powerful interest group in Washington.”

In 2016 Fortune described AIPAC as “the biggest, most powerful group in the Israel Lobby.”

Former AIPAC official, M.J. Rosenberg wrote of Omar’s tweet: “AIPAC’s political operation is used precisely as Representative Omar suggested.” Rosenberg pointed out: “The power of AIPAC over members of Congress is literally awesome, although not in a good way.”

Pro-Israel New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote in 2011 that Congress’s many standing ovations for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

In November’s mid-term elections, pro-Israel campaign donors gave millions of dollars to both parties. Israel advocate Sheldon Adelson, alone, who says he wishes he had served in the Israeli army rather than the U.S. military, gave $123 million.

Although ambitious politicians from both parties attacked Omar for publicly stating the obvious, numerous people defended her; there were articles in The Nation, the UK Guardian, The Intercept, and many other places. An Israeli journalist based in the U.S. tweeted Omar was “exactly right.”

One-sided report

In her email to me, reporter Susan Davis claimed that the All Things Considered report was “fair.” But a fair report would have reported both the criticisms of her and the defenses.

Instead, NPR only told listeners about the accusations against Omar. There was no mention of the many people who supported her, said her point was valid, and provided evidence for their statements.

In her report, Davis had told listeners: “She’s facing scrutiny for comments that both her allies and her critics consider anti-Semitic.” This suggested that the condemnation was universal, when in reality many allies and others disagree.

A full, fair, accurate report would have followed the sentence about the claims against her with another: ‘But many people disagree and say her remarks are valid.’

That’s not what NPR did.

Davis’s inaccurate assertions

Following are the other assertions in Davis’s email. These indicate a profoundly skewed perspective on the controversy, albeit one that conforms to a pervasive blindspot within much of the media. This is unfortunate in an otherwise thorough and professional journalist like Davis, who can and hopefully will do better.

She was universally condemned by her own party, Democratic leaders, and every major chairman in the Congress.

Davis’s claim that Omar “was universally condemned by her own party” is untrue.

There are thousands of people in the Democratic party; most didn’t say anything. In fact, a 2018 Pew poll showed that “nearly twice as many liberal Democrats say they sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel.”

Bernie Sanders, perhaps the most popular leader in Congress, met with Omar and offered his support.

A former member of the Democratic National Committee’s executive committee said the attacks were “outrageous.” He wrote that Omar was being condemned because “she dared to point out, as a leading New York Times columnist and so many others have in the past, the intimidating role that AIPAC plays in shaping US policy toward Israel. The response was nearly hysterical.”

He wrote that Israel supporters “have weaponized anti-Semitism, turning it into a blunt instrument in a crude effort to pummel opponents and silence legitimate debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

While Davis notes that major Congressional chairmen are against Omar, she fails to mention that Nancy Pelosi intentionally stacked the deck. Speaking a while ago before a pro-Israel convention backed by Sheldon Adelson, Pelosi announced:  “We have people very well paced to share our values.”

She apologized for using what she acknowledged were anti-Semitic tropes, if inadvertently.

This statement is also untrue.

Nowhere did Omar “acknowledge” that she had used “anti-Semitic tropes.”

In reality, Omar had apologized for “any actual hurt” her words may have caused, but said she would not change her views of the “problematic role of lobbyists in our politics.”  She said: “It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”

Many people felt there was no need for Omar to apologize for making a factual statement; if anyone was allegedly “hurt” by her statement about a special interest group, this was their problem, not hers.

Our coverage was fair and accurately reflected those facts.

The coverage was not fair.

It reported one-side of a controversy that has two sides. It reported some facts and left out other facts.

All Things Considered is a highly influential program. It is important that it air unbiased, accurate reports, not one-sided, prejudicial dispatches.

Anyone who wishes All Things Considered to do better in future reports, can contact them here.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of “Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.”  

February 23, 2019 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Don’t stop there🎶

    https://alethonews.com/2019/02/22/jussie-smollett-and-jewish-hoaxes

    Comment by Leland Roth | February 23, 2019 | Reply

  2. NPR reporter says something. Great. NPR is the be all and end all of all things. NOT.

    Comment by tsisageya | February 23, 2019 | Reply

  3. The real issue is the influence of money–by any entity–upon government. In this case, the amount of money to buy policy favorable for Israel is successful: successful for Israel. A ruination for America.

    The legislators who put forth policy or laws are too often a robbery of American tax collected money. Examples abound, but how about the thirty eight billion–and it will be more–given to Israel for a ten year period of time? A gigantic amount of money.

    Would the citizenry vote to give this money away? The answer is surely no.

    How do the elected have this right, this privilege? What do Americans get from this give-away? Numerous of them have an Israeli citizenship; they are acting on behalf and for a foreign country.

    They are loyal to a foreign country, traitors to America.

    Comment by michael | February 23, 2019 | Reply

    • Worst than that…Akismet an Zionist entity as well!

      “There are three unions of states that make up the actual American Government and they are all states that literally belong to you.  Read it.  Understand it.  Remember it.  Tattoo it on your backsides, if necessary: 

      The United States = state republics = people = (e)states = soil jurisdiction = national jurisdiction.  

      The United States of America = States = People = international jurisdiction of land and sea. 

      States of America = Federal States of States also called Confederate States because they operated under The Articles of Confederation = commercial corporations chartered by the States doing business as, for example, The State of Georgia, The State of Alabama, etc. designed to do work for our States in the global jurisdiction of the air — commerce.  These are the “States” that are missing. ” Anna Von Reitz but Akismet deletes Paul’s website from which this comes from🙄

      Comment by Leland Roth | February 23, 2019 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.