Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NPR covers for David Brooks

Not surprisingly, NPR’s ombudsman goes with the flow that will neither interfere with his current employment nor injure his future prospects in American journalism.
Following is an email to me from the Office of the Ombudsman, and my response to NPR:
Dear Alison,
Thank you for contacting the NPR Ombudsman. We appreciate your comments and your thoughts will be taken into consideration as we continue to monitor the reporting.
The Ombudsman is currently working on a blog post about this issue. You may be interested in this statement from our standards and practices editor:
David Brooks is primarily an opinion columnist for The New York Times. He appears on All Things Considered to offer his opinions, not as a reporter. His son’s service with the Israeli Defense Forces is no secret We agree with the Times‘ editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, that Mr. Brooks’ long-standing views about Israel have been “formed by all kinds of things … [and] are not going to change whether or not his son is serving in the IDF, beyond his natural concerns as a father for his son’s safety and well-being.” We also agree with the Times‘ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, that Mr. Brooks should not be barred from commenting about Israel. She has recommended that he address the issue of his son’s service in the IDF in a future column. That strikes us as a reasonable suggestion. If a situation arises and we feel he should also mention it on our air, we still discuss that with Mr. Brooks at that time.
1. In reality, the large majority of NPR listeners quite likely have no idea of Brooks’ conflict of interest (and they share this ignorance with PBS’s ombudsman).
The only place the information about Brooks has appeared in print to date is a Hebrew version of an Israeli newspaper, and possibly the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. It has not appeared on any mainstream broadcast entity that I’m aware of.
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