NPR Ombudsman
3:19 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Mideast Report: July – September 2012

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:42 pm

Former foreign editor John Felton conducts quarterly reviews of NPR's coverage related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His 2012 third quarter report is now available online. It is worth reading, especially by anyone interested in the Middle East.

Felton reviewed the 83 news stories, features and interviews about Israel and Palestine that aired on NPR programs from July through September, as well as 39 news stories, blogs and other items posted on NPR's website.

Felton found no outright inaccuracies and said NPR's coverage generally was fair and balanced. However, he criticized two pieces by Jerusalem correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro: A July 10 piece for Morning Edition reporting on Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, and a July 12 piece for All Things Considered reporting on violent attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against West Bank Palestinians.

His report said the two pieces "drew attention to significant trends but were flawed. Both stories used incomplete statistics, missed key details and failed to provide adequate explanations of Israel's viewpoint. Most important, both stories should have placed the reported events in a broader context to give listeners a deeper understanding of the competing claims of Palestinians and Israelis."

Felton's report also reviewed NPR's coverage of the international stand-off over Iran's nuclear program and the unprecedented debate in this year's presidential campaign about U.S. support for Israel.

I encourage you to read the complete review. Quarterly reviews going back to 2008 are also available online.

John Felton prepares the quarterly evaluations. He has covered international affairs and U.S. foreign policy for more than 30 years. His book, The Contemporary Middle East: A Documentary History, was published by CQ Press in 2007. A former foreign affairs reporter for Congressional Quarterly and foreign editor at NPR, he has been a freelance writer and editor since 1995.

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