Last night I posted a comment on a story that appeared on NPR.org, the news website of National Public Radio.
I hadn’t used foul language or tried to sell something. But somehow, I crossed a line with the NPR “community,” and there was no place for my two cents.
The article told the story of the Presbyterian gathering in Pittsburgh that rejected, 333 to 331, a motion that would have placed sanctions on companies like Caterpillar and Motorola, some of whose products are used to maintain the security wall Israel built alongside the West Bank.
Strictly speaking, you can’t call the Presbyterians anti-Semites, because by taking up the cudgels for Palestinians, they were acting in a pro-Semitic manner. They just didn’t have a lot of use for the Jews. Or at least the ones who rule, and support, Israel.
The part of the story that I commented on was the statement by a former leader of the Presbyterian organization to the effect that protecting the interests of their “Palestinian brothers and sisters” was paramount.
That got me thinking.
So I went through the tiresome process of registering for the NPR.org website, because I had never left a comment there, or, as far as I can remember, anywhere else. I finally figured out how to sign in with my Google account, and here is what I wrote: “Does Rick Ufford-Chase recall that his Palestinian brothers and sisters, as he referred to them, danced when the World Trade Center was destroyed on 9/11? If he’s going to invite those brothers and sisters to a family reunion, he might want to bring a metal detector.”
That’s all I wrote. Rather witty, if I say so myself. And to the point, which is that the Left tends to make common cause with people who are not exactly our friends, at the expense of those who are.
I’m not going to wade into the rights and wrongs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict other than to say that both sides have legitimate claims and that neither side has acted in a manner they can be fully proud of. My pro-Israeli friends will accuse me, after making a comment like that, of creating moral equivalency between Israelis and Palestinians where they claim there is none. Those who favor the Palestinian side will condemn me for offering Israel any moral cover whatsoever.
But that’s not the point.
The real point is that National Public Radio, which is funded by your taxpayer dollars, rejected a comment, as far as I can tell, simply because it offered a political view not in accordance with the political leanings of the people who run NPR.
Your taxpayer dollars at work.
Doesn’t the First Amendment say something about the fact that the government cannot practice prior restraint?
Or to put it more bluntly, who is NPR to delete my comment and claim that it violates the rules of the NPR “community”?
And who is that community anyway, and what are they doing with our taxpayer dollars?
NPR is an anomaly. It’s government-sponsored radio that all agree offers a left-of-center perspective. Sometimes a far left-of-center perspective. Its broadcasters worship at the First Church of Barack Obama. There is no attempt to present a fair and balanced portrait of events or personalities in the news. You could say that Fox News does the same thing on the right, but Fox News is a privately owned company. Fox News isn’t subsidized by the United States government.
It’s dismaying, to say the least. To think that my taxpayer dollars are funding some individual sitting in a room most likely in Washington, D.C., reading comments as they arise, and deleting the ones that do not share the views of the folks who run that network.
Conservatives often make the case that NPR shouldn’t exist in the first place. Why, in an era when we can barely provide unemployment benefits and health care to those in need, or police our streets, or pay for our schools and libraries, are we spending even a dime on a propaganda machine?
NPR supporters will tell you that the average taxpayer is “only” spending about 90 cents out of his or her entire tax payment on NPR.
But what if segregationists told us that they “only” wanted to spend 90 cents per taxpayer on attack dogs and fire hoses?
I’ve also got to wonder why the Presbyterians don’t have bigger fish to fry than butting their noses into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I’m sure the good people sitting in that meeting in Pittsburg might have felt a little less even-handed toward the Israelis and the Palestinians had their conference been disrupted by a daily stream of rocket fire from nearby Ohio. That’s certainly what they would have gone through had they held their meeting an equal number of miles from Gaza.
Strange bedfellows, indeed: the religious right, a State-run leftist broadcaster, and the Palestinians.
It honestly sounds like the set-up to a joke. A Presbyterian, an NPR broadcaster, and a Palestinian go into a bar.
Israel is great at a lot of things. Making the desert bloom. High tech. Protecting itself. It falls down when it comes to public relations. Which is somehow surprising, when you think about all the Jews in PR and advertising in this country. Israel’s attitude seems to be, “You’re never going to love us. So why should we bother trying to convince you that you should?”
In a broad sense, Rick Ufford-Chase is right. The Palestinians are just as much his, and the Presbyterians’ brothers and sisters as are the Jews. It just seems that there’s something amiss when religion is sticking its head into politics, and a government-run “news” arm plays favorites in the marketplace of ideas.