Is Linda Gradstein an Israeli governmental spokeswoman?

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Dear National Public Radio:

Linda Gradstein today again ignored the facts, and picked news clips and items as if there is only an Israeli governmental version of the world to report to America. In her report on Yasser Arafat’s speech, the only thing she stated was that he called for Palestinians to end the violence and terrorism. The reality is very different, he called (as he did before) for Israel to end its violence (detailing it as incursions into Palestinian areas, occupation, checkpoints, demolishing homes etc.) and also for individual Palestinians not to engage in terrorism and suicide bombings which as he stated are “used as pretext by Israel to attack the Palestinian people.”

Gradstein having ignored this substance of his speech and presented only what Israeli politicians were “looking for” (one sided stop to the amorphous “violence”), she proceeded to state immediately that Palestinians “fired a mortar shell at a Jewish settlement a few hours after Arafat’s speech” and that Israel reported two other shootings by Palestinians (as if somehow this was a very important point). She failed to report in the same segment about Israeli violence and that Israel killed two Palestinians (also a few hours after his speech calling on Israel to stop its violence). In a separate segment she did report using passive voice that “two Palestinians were killed” (how, by whom, and under what circumstances we are not told). Further in her segment, she presented the Israeli reaction to the distorted presentation of Arafat’s speech and presented no Palestinian reactions. In total, besides a few seconds of distorted/misquoted blip about what Arafat said, the rest of her report was almost like an Israeli governmental dispatch.

At least when you had Jennifer Ludden reporting, she presented a glimpse of the diversity of Israeli and Palestinian perspectives and reported some of what is really happening. Gradstein‘s failure to report the news and her consistent portrayal of the conflict through Israeli government eyes is truly disturbing. Linda Gradstein has been sending “dispatches” from Israel that sound like Israeli government dispatches than journalistic reports. Is she paid as an Israeli governmental spokesperson? If not perhaps she should be and National Public Radio should hire a real reporter.

Shame.

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Ph.D.

(Dr. Mazin B. Qumsiyeh is Chair of the Media Committee, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition)

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