When WAMU radio host Diane Rehm spouted off an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about Jewish Senator Bernie Sanders this week, her national syndicator, National Public Radio (NPR), refused to shoulder responsibility for her actions, telling Breitbart News that “context matters” and that WAMU, not NPR, should be reached for comment.
The aforementioned remarks from the NPR media representative came after Breitbart News asked NPR where longtime radio host Diane Rehm got her information when she accused Senator Sanders of being a “dual citizen” of both the United States and Israel. NPR responded to Breitbart News’ inquiry, saying that we should reach out to WAMU for comment on her remarks: “The Diane Rehm Show is produced by WAMU, independently from NPR, so you’ll need to reach out to them for comment.”
Breitbart News then asked NPR: “Given that NPR is a syndicate (of the Diane Rehm Show), will NPR at this time condemn the remarks made by Rehm, in which she falsely asserted that Senator Bernie Sanders is a citizen of Israel?”
An NPR represenative responded to Breitbart News:
I’m confused. Are you asking whether NPR condemns only an initial part of their exchange or the entirety of it, including this follow up question: “Are there members of Congress who have dual-citizenship with Israel or is that part of the fable?” she asked
“The context matters,” concluded the NPR spokesperson.
At the 24-minute mark of her Wednesday show, Rehm said to Sanders, “Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel,” to which Sanders replied, “Well… No, I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I am an American. I do not know where that question came from.”
“I am an American citizen, and I have visited Israel on a couple of occasions. No, I am an American citizen. I am an American citizen, period,” said Senator Sanders.
Rehm replied, “I understand from a list we have gotten that you were on that list. Forgive me if that is…” The Arab-American radio host then went on to ask Sanders how he feels about the state of “Palestine.”
Shortly after Breitbart News’ conversation with NPR, Rehm released an apology, stating that she found the misleading information “in a Facebook comment” and was “sorry for the mistake.”
Breitbart News followed up with NPR, asking the publicly-funded entity the following three questions:
- “Does NPR think Facebook comments off websites is a good place for hosts to get information?”
- “Does NPR plan on having an internal review of how these questions get asked?”
- “Do her comments meet the standards for what NPR is willing to syndicate and distribute?”
After multiple additional attempts to reach NPR over the past couple days, the government-run organization has not responded to our requests for further information.