Fairness & Accuracy

Mideast Report: April – June 2012

Former foreign editor John Felton conducts quarterly reviews of NPR's Israeli-Palestinian coverage. His 2012 second quarter report is now available online.

Felton reviewed the 37 radio reports that aired from April through June – the second lowest number of segments in a quarter in the last 10 years. He also reviewed 20 Web-only reports.

Felton found no outright inaccuracies, but did note two instances of misleading language. Felton also determined that NPR provided significantly more coverage of Israel than of the Palestinian territories and, over the course of the quarter, listeners heard less from Palestinians in general. "As noted in my previous report, the scarcity of Palestinian voices reflects the continuing lack of coverage of the West Bank and particularly of Gaza," Felton wrote. Although he also noted an absence of voices of both Israeli and Palestinian government officials and opinion leaders.

NPR dedicated 6 of the 37 radio segments to reporting on Iran's nuclear program. As he did last quarter, Felton praised Talk of the Nation for providing the most comprehensive coverage of the topic. "Host Neal Conan led listeners through four extensive conservations on various aspects of international pressure against Iran," he wrote.

The opinion section on NPR.org provided three commentaries on the subject, all of which advocated against a military strike against Iran by the United States. "Each of these commentaries made important points worthy of consideration, but taken together they presented a one-sided view of one of the most hotly debated topics on the current foreign policy agenda," Felton wrote. He encouraged NPR to provide a broader range of opinion on this and other topics of global importance.

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 most recent 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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