An independent review of NPR's Mideast coverage by former foreign editor John Felton. He found the coverage to be generally accurate and balanced, but chided NPR for relying too much on Washington-based experts to explain events in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Fairness & Accuracy
Reviewing NPR stories for their factual accuracy and relevant context. Grapple with us on the judgment calls. Fairness is our guiding principle, however subjective.
Many listeners complain that for the last month NPR has been "all Catholic radio, all the time." Our review finds that the story count has indeed been overwhelming. But in a comparison among religions and denominations, Catholicism is unique in size, institutional organization and global influence. Now that we have Pope Francis, however, a news break might be nice.
A newscast report designed to give a break to the papal coverage instead offended Hindu listeners. The complaints underscored the danger of being tempted by exoticism. The sirens here were naked Nepalese ascetics smoking weed.
Psychologists find that in experiencing a news story on a divisive issue, we all hear the arguments supporting the other side more than our own. We thus tend to see bias, often wrongly. Was this the case in a story about a Palestinian documentary filmmaker working near Israeli settlements on the West Bank?
An independent review of NPR's Mideast coverage by former foreign editor John Felton found NPR to be generally accurate, balanced and commendably cautious. However, much of the coverage failed to provide enough context. Questions like "Why is this happening now?" and "What does this mean for the future of the Middle East?" should have been asked more frequently.
Pushed by social media mores, we demand to know ever more about reporters online. But when Morning Edition went mainstream with innocent revelation, including a reporter's lack of information, listener complaints underlined the perils of the practice. We have no guidelines for a rapidly changing media world.
Listeners debate the extent to which NPR should be in the live news business, but what really stood out all week in the Sandy Hook coverage is the remarkable accuracy and ethical restraint. The lessons of the Gabrielle Giffords debacle nearly two years ago have been well absorbed. Internal staff memos during the first day and a half of Sandy Hook are an example of how to do it right.
A look at the proportion of Republicans and Democrats speaking on air in relation to the "fiscal cliff" offers an insight into political bias by NPR. The finding? A pretty even balance, despite a slight Republican tilt in the numbers. But further dissection welcomed.
NPR found Romney and Ryan made more incorrect claims overall during the debates than Obama and Biden. But in the last debate, Obama made the most incorrect claims. Can bias be found in the numbers? No. What counts is whether the fact checkers were right. We check.
On the eve of the second presidential debate, we revisit the first one and the vice presidential debate. Some listeners thought they heard more clips of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan than of President Obama and Joe Biden. We found a virtual dead heat. In politics, our bile affects what we hear.
An independent review of NPR's Mideast coverage by former foreign editor John Felton. He generally found the coverage to be accurate and balanced, but two reports about Israeli settlers in the West Bank used incomplete statistics and missed key details.
Criticisms of NPR's coverage of the attack in Benghazi have become mixed with criticisms of the Obama administration's explanations. But NPR acquitted itself, if not perfectly, then very well. Steve Inskeep finds two valuable lessons in it all.
Here is a test of NPR's political bias and your own convictions about what it might be. Headlines set the tone for NPR.org and are a litmus test for all the coverage. So let's look at the last three days of campaign headlines. You decide.
Readers and listeners complain about bias in individual segments of NPR's coverage, but Managing Editor David Sweeney says overall balance in the aggregate is what counts. We listened to a morning news meeting to see how the NPR sausage gets made.
That is how Gov. Romney introduced Ryan and NPR ran it. Later soundbites had Romney correctly introducing Ryan as his new vice presidential nominee. Many listeners howled. Was NPR airbrushing the introduction to save Romney an embarrassment? The answer is elementary, my dear readers.