NPR Lies About Hadassah Endorsement of Its Reporting

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Document 1

On May 15, the Connecticut Post ran an article about the nationwide "NPR: Tell the Truth" demonstrations in which an NPR spokeswoman was quoted as saying that a number of Jewish leaders, including Bonnie Lipton, President of Hadassah, had "gone on record in support of NPR's Middle East coverage."

Connecticut Post, May 15, 2003

Jessamyn Sarmiento, an NPR spokeswoman in Washington, said NPR's aim is always "to tell the story as best we can." NPR has received awards for its Middle East coverage, she added.

"We remain dedicated, steadfast and determined to provide accurate, fair and balanced reporting through a diversity of opinions and a wide range of viewpoints," she said.

There are a number of Jewish leaders, she said, who have gone on record in support of NPR's Middle East coverage. Among them, Bonnie Lipton, the president of Hadassah, and Matthew Miller, director of National Radio at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Document 2

Protest organizer Diana Muir, surprised to hear that Lipton had issued such an endorsement, wrote to NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin to find out when and where Lipton had made such a statement of support.

-----Original Message-----

From: Diana Muir
Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2003 9:51 PM
Subject:     Lipton quote

Dear Mr. Dworkin,

The excerpt below is taken from a story that ran in last week's Connecticut Post. I am not familiar with the statement from Hadassah President Bonnie Lipton that Ms. Sarmiento cites. Can you provide more information on that endorsement of your coverage?

Sincerely yours,

Diana Muir

Document 3

Ombudsman Dvorkin contacted spokeswoman Sarmiento requesting the source of the quotation.

-----Original Message-----

From: Jeffrey Dvorkin
Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2003 11:07 PM
To: Jessamyn Sarmiento
Subject:     FW: Lipton quote

Do you have the quote? Thanks...

Document 4

Sarmiento replied by sending the following attachment.

-----Original Message-----

From: Jessamyn Sarmiento
Sent: Monday, May 19, 2003 10:33 AM
To: Jeffrey Dvorkin
Subject:     RE: Lipton quote


Jessamyn D. Sarmiento
Director for Public and Media Relations
635 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-513.3045 fax

Document 5

Dvorkin forwarded the statement to Muir in response to her request for the source of the assertion that Hadassah President Lipton had "gone on record in support of NPR's Middle East coverage."

Subj:     FW: Lipton quote
Date: 5/19/03 11:25:15 AM Eastern Daylight Time
To: Diana Muir
File: 01publicstatements.doc (56832 bytes)

Dear Ms. Muir,

As requested.


Jeffrey A. Dvorkin
NPR Ombudsman
635 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: 202-513-3246 (direct)
Fax: 202-513-3329

Document 6

To view an Adobe PDF version of the document attached to the message above, click on the link below, or the link in the message above. The document will open in a new window, which you can close to return here.

01publicstatements.pdf (10 KB)

Document 7

Lee Green of CAMERA wrote as follows:

We have heard that NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin has mentioned this alleged support from Hadassah in numerous meetings he has had with critics of NPR's Middle East coverage. We are pleased to inform you that Hadassah's National President, Bonnie Lipton, firmly denies ever making a statement of support for NPR's Middle East coverage. Below is a letter to a CAMERA member from Roberta Elliot, Hadassah Director of Public Affairs.

Subject:     FW: Question regarding NPR statement
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003
From: Roberta Elliot

We know about this [NPR statement]. There was indeed a short article in a small Connecticut paper in which an NPR spokesman cited Bonnie Lipton as supporting NPR's Middle East coverage. This is an erroneous statement and I have a call into NPR to ask them not to use Bonnie's name when they are citing Jewish leaders that support them. Please just tell your folks it was in error and it's being handled promptly. If you have any more questions, I'm here to answer them!

Best, Roberta Elliott

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