Mideast Report: January — March 2013 : NPR Public Editor 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.
NPR logo Mideast Report: January — March 2013

Mideast Report: January — March 2013

Former foreign editor John Felton conducts quarterly, independent, reviews of NPR's Israeli-Palestinian coverage. His first-quarter 2013 report is now available online.

Felton reviewed the 81 radio stories, interviews and other reports that aired on NPR's daily radio shows from January through March, as well as 34 blogs, news stories and other reports carried exclusively on NPR's website.

Main news events in the region during the period were the Israeli elections in January (and the subsequent formation of a new government) and President Obama's visit to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan in March.

In his assessment, Felton found that NPR gave its listeners and readers generally accurate and fair coverage of these and other events. During the quarter Larry Abramson, normally the Washington-based national security correspondent, filled in as NPR's Jerusalem correspondent, pending the arrival of Emily Harris, who took over the post in April. NPR has not had a permanent Jerusalem correspondent since the summer of 2012.

Felton did chide NPR reporters and shows for relying too often on Washington-based experts and analysts to explain events in Israel and the Palestinian territories. He suggested that listeners, and readers of the website, should instead hear more from people in the region.

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.

Correction April 19, 2013

Israel did extend the fishing limit in Gaza to six miles late in 2012, but, according to the UN, reimposed the previous 3-mile limit on March 21 in response to the firing of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel. The three mile limit remained in effect when this report was published on April 18.