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Ron Radosh Smacks Eric Alterman

Posted on March 1 2010 4:08 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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The insufferable Eric Alterman is at it again. His entire media column in the March 1st issue of The Nation is devoted to a blast at NPR. Why, might you wonder, is Alterman upset at the radio network which many of us  despise for good reason, and which we often call  “National Palestinian Radio,” for its one-sided coverage of the Middle East?

The answer is that when it aired their obituary coverage of Howard Zinn, the station actually used a few moments of negative comments about Zinn’s work from conservative activist and writer David Horowitz, whose words they put on the air. As Horowitz notes, the offending words took all of “30 seconds” of air time! But that, for Alterman, is too much.

They should not have asked for his comments, Alterman writes, because while they did use comments from friendly supporters of the late “historian,” both Noam Chomsky and Julian Bond, they were “were fellow left-wing activists and friends of Zinn. Quoting friends and peers is the customary practice in obituaries.”

Alterman should know that in fact, this is hardly the case. I don’t recall him complaining in print when the great screen director Elia Kazan died, scores of obituaries not only wrote that he was most well known for being an informer before HUAC who named names of Communists he once worked with, but went on to offer quotes and interviews with scores of Kazan’s enemies in the film community.  Go look these up. You will be hard pressed to find friendly comments featured in any of them. Many of the obituaries failed to even tell readers why Kazan was regarded as one of our country’s greatest film directors.

So Alterman has made up an obit rule of his own, and he is mad that NPR, which he obviously expected to only report favorable comments about Zinn’s work, dared to have one out of three voices critical of Zinn.  He then writes: “Horowitz, on the other hand, does not claim to have known Zinn personally, and shares neither his goals nor views. He has no specialized knowledge of Zinn whatsoever. The single qualification that David Horowitz possessed to be included in the piece on Zinn’s obituary was that he could be depended upon to be deeply critical of the deceased.”

Ron Radosh » Horowitz, Alterman and NPR: “The Nation” Magazine’s Insufferable Media Critic is At It Again.

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