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March 14, 2003 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-14

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Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:


Dry Bones

A Better Way To Fix It

riF AveRicA

f you've been listening to the radio, you are
likely to be aware that this is one of those
dreaded times of year when your local public
radio station is doing fund-raising. And if
you've been listening to the buzz in some Jewish
circles, you know that a lot of us are deeply
offended by the way those stations accept the
National Public Radio .(NPR) news reports that
give a lot more attention to the suffering of
Palestinians at the hands of the Israel Defense
Forces than it does to the agonies of Israeli civil-
ians wounded and killed by Palestinian terrorists.
You may even have heard discussion of a propos-
al to encourage Jewish Americans to withhold their
usual generous support of those local sta-
tions until NPR cleans up its act on
reporting from Jerusalem.
This is a dumb idea, unworthy of an
intelligent audience that has a much more effective
way of calling attention to the NPR factual errors
and omissions in its Mideast coverage. What we
should be doing is sending our regular checks to
those local stations along with a letter to the news
director asking him or her to help us persuade
NPR to clean up its act.
We need to be clear on the distinction between
the 680 local NPR-affiliate stations, many of
which are owned or operated by nonprofits like a
university, and the network itself, a part of the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which
includes the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) tel-
evision network. Overall, the corporation gets
about a third of its nearly $2.5 billion from feder-
al, state and local taxes, with 18 percent from busi-
ness sponsors and 25 percent from individual lis-
teners whose contributions go primarily to the
local stations which, in turn, buy programming
from the network.
Cutting off our funds to the local station is
much more likely to affect the quality of local pro-
gramming — music, talk, local news and the like

— than it is to convince NPR on-
air reporters Mike Shuster or
Linda Gradstein to do more bal-
anced research or more sharply
question their incessant stream of
pro-Palestinian guests.
Further, most of us don't want
to throw out the whole barrel of
good apples — Fresh Air inter-
views, Car Talk, Prairie Home
Companion and the like —
because we find that parts of All
Things Considered or Weekend
Edition are way off base. At a time
when some Jewish bene-
factors are reportedly
looking for ways to help
provide. a liberal media
voice that would offset the occa-
sional excesses of right-wing talk
radio, we should appreciate the
generally intelligent and informed
NPR programs. All we want to do
is to fix the broken bits of anti-
Israel slant.
The failings of NPR coverage
when it comes to Mideast cover-
age are documented in convincing
detail by the Committee for
Accuracy in Middle East
Reporting in America (CAMERA)
www.camera.org as are the repeat-
ed lack of balance, fairness and
historical context in other media
outlets such as the Cable News Network, the
Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer. But
local station directors who might persuade the net-
work editors to deal with the problem likely
haven't taken the time to review CAMERA's
insightful presentations.
This is the time when our station heads really

pay attention to us; we can actually get them on
the phone when we are calling in our pledge
amounts. Let's make it plain to them both how
much we support public broadcasting as a vital,
thoughtful alternative to commercial channels and
how much we are offended by the reportorial bias
against the Jewish state. They'll get the message. ❑

The Keystone

ing on 12 Mile and made it flourish; Yeshivas
Darchei Torah has done the same at the old Agency
for Jewish Education headquarters a block away.
Congregation Shaarey Zedek's board and parents
have found a way to keep the Beth Hayeled preschool
in Southfield open another year. The Yeshiva Beth
Yehudah boys school is a major anchor for the com-
munity near Greenfield Road.
Despite the resignation of its popular
longtime rabbi, Elimelech Goldberg, to
devote his energies to Kids Kicking Cancer,
Young Israel of Southfield has continued to shine
under its new spiritual leader, Yechiel Morris. The
Orthodox community continues to have several shuls
in the city. And the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit's Neighborhood Project
expanded its boundaries in Southfield to encourage
Jewish families to buy and improve Southfield

From her point of view, Mayor Lawrence — a
Beacon Square resident near 11 Mile and Lahser —
sees a diverse community in Southfield as "essential."
'As mayor," she said, "I want to nurture the Jewish
presence. If people feel connected to their neighbor-
hoods and the city, they won't be in a hurry to put
up a for-sale sign."
Part of her campaign is to recruit support for
Southfield's schools. She recently asked Young Israel
to "adopt" neighboring Leonard and Stevenson
schools. "They embraced the idea," said Mayor
Lawrence, "but I didn't follow up. I need to do
By making each institution and neighborhood
strong, she said, the city will be strong. "Sitting back
as mayor and watching the different cultures thrive
together is so amazing."
The same can be said for a Detroit Jewish commu-
nity that uses Southfield to keep itself cohesive. ❑


AN D -1146 New
CUol'e I




outhfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence visited the
Jewish News last week to welcome the news-
paper back to the city. We hadn't been gone
for long, and we didn't go very far after our
January 2002 fire, but Mayor Lawrence and
others see significance in our return.
For the Jewish community, Southfield is a
cornerstone, a meeting ground between the
two major geographic sections of Detroit Jewry.
Without a Jewish presence here, Detroit Jewry
becomes even more separated by distance and eco-
nomic and religious streams.
A number of Jewish institutions besides the Jewish
News have recognized Southfield as the fulcrum of
the equation. Educationally, Yeshivat Akiva has
moved into the former Beth Achim synagogue build-




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