With all the government money NPR gets, you'd think the radio network could afford fact checkers and producers for its big shows.
Apparently, NPR is stashing that taxpayer money elsewhere.
In an astonishing interview by NPR talk star Diane Rehm last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders was accused of holding dual citizenship with the United States and Israel.
She didn't ask him a question. She stated it as fact and awaited a response. It was fast in coming.
Here's a transcript of the relevant part of this media debacle:
Diane Rehm: Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel.
Bernie Sanders: Well, no, I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I'm an American. I don't know where that question came from. I am an American citizen, and I have visited Israel on a couple of occasions. No, I'm an American citizen, period.
Rehm: I understand from a list we have gotten that you were on that list.
Rehm: Forgive me if that is—
Sanders: That's some of the nonsense that goes on in the Internet. But that is absolutely not true.
Rehm: Interesting. Are there members of Congress who do have dual citizenship, or is that part of the fable?
Sanders: I honestly don't know, but I have read that on the Internet. You know, my dad came to this country from Poland at the age of 17 without a nickel in his pocket, loved this country. ... I got offended a little bit by that comment, and I know it's been on the Internet. I am obviously an American citizen, and I do not have any dual citizenship.
Wow! What the heck is going on here?
It boggles the mind that such a statement could be uttered on National Public Radio, given all of the resources it has at its disposal. Rehm found a list somewhere and decided it must be accurate. Is that what media that get public funding do?
Did she assume that because the presidential candidate is Jewish, he has dual citizenship with Israel? Doesn't that smack of anti-Semitism?
And what would it matter to Rehm and NPR if it were true? I myself recall being interviewed on this very same network a few years ago and being accused of racism for questioning Barack Obama's still very questionable status as a "natural born Citizen." Yet here was Rehm, the grand doyenne of NPR, making a flat-out wrong accusation about Sanders — perhaps hinting at a disqualification of his challenge to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Ironically, Sanders is not even a strong supporter of Israel.
Yes, Rehm apologized on-air and in writing for this faux pas — but is that enough?
I want to know how my money is being misspent at NPR to support such shoddy journalism. I want to know what kind of latent anti-Semitism is behind this media circus. In fact, I want my money back.
Also ironic is the way NPR and other state-funded and state-enamored media outlets love to point out the hazards of believing unsubstantiated Internet posts — but then do exactly that themselves.
I'm sorry, but a mistake such as this requires more explanation than has been offered. It could only happen to a host and producer team that is, shall I say, less than professional.
What is going on here? Has the anti-Israel bigotry in state-funded media gotten so intense that it is now baring its ugly teeth openly?
Does Sanders represent such a threat to their establishment view of the world that he's fair game for a smear?
Is this a hint that we will be seeing the drive-by media suddenly become interested in the constitutional requirements for eligibility to become president in 2016?
Stay tuned. But not to NPR.
To find out more about Joseph Farah and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.