Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jews vs. NPR? It's a trap!

I read this today:
The oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel groups in the country is urging American Jews to call their congressmen and demand they de-fund NPR following the release of an undercover video showing two National Public Radio (NPR) executives agreeing as men pretending to be members of a Muslim Brotherhood front group lament “Zionist” control of U.S. media.
My first thought? Bullshit.

My second thought? Someone's trying to start a fight.

Several commentators have noted that parts of the conservative (political, not religious) movement of the last few decades has slowly but steadily worked to drive wedges between various segments of middle (as in class) America, slowly eroding most of the protections put in place to limit what Big Business can do to us. Unions? Check. Teachers? Check. Safety regulators? Check. 
That's what this feels like. First of all, it sounds like the ACORN and Planned Parenthood "sting" operations; people pretending to be Muslim Brotherhood members? Seriously? And they just happened to be recording the meeting? Shocking. It's amazing how often these things happen by accident.

Oh wait; these things don't happen by accident. Sure, meetings get recorded that shouldn't, and those recordings get leaked, but people don't "accidentally" impersonate Muslim extremists and badmouth Israel in front of network executives. 
My thought? The Republican Party has been after NPR for years. They have been opposed by Democrats and patrons of the arts, both groups in which Jews are over-represented. So if you can stir up some false controversy to move Jews away from NPR, then you can politically kill it.
Don't fall for it. NPR is important; it brings us a TON of amazing programing (Sesame Street? This American Life?). It puts the Arts on TV in a way that no other basic cable channel, and few premium ones, do. That is important to us as Americans, and as Jews. Art and education, especially education, are vital parts of Jewish culture. Look at how often the two are combined: we use operatic-level cantoral music to teach children prayers and Torah. Our religion began when God gave us a book and told us to study it, and shortly thereafter told us to decorate it prettily.

If you really are upset by this "gotcha journalism", you still should support NPR. Insist on the removal of those executives if you must, but keep network.

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