#44... Oct 31,
P. 4, AMERICAN
FREE PRESS * October 31, 2005...
Behind the Scenes
with Michael Collins Piper
By New Agenda-Driven Chairman
Will Programming Choices
Suffer from Bias?
By Michael Collins Piper
hard-line Israeli lobby stalwart who has accused National Public
Radio (NPR) of being biased against Israel is now chairman of the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the private corporation
that oversees management and funding for NPR and some 1,000 public
radio — and television — broadcasting outlets throughout
the United States.
On Sept. 26, 2005, Cheryl Halpern, a multimillionaire attorney and
real estate developer from New Jersey who has been serving as a
member of the CPB board, was elected to the CPB chairmanship by
the CPB board that is now dominated by Bush administration loyalists.
Although Halpern has said her goal is to “encourage objective
and balanced programming” on the radio and television outlets
under the auspices of the CPB, Halpern’s public rhetoric betrays
her own special interest bias: one of favoritism toward Israel and
opposition to criticism of the Middle East state.
During her service on the CPB board Halpern was outspokenly critical
of NPR, accusing it of being biased against Israel and its government.
Actually, this is no surprise, since virtually all of Halpern’s
public affairs activities have been devoted to strengthening the
so-called “special relationship” between Israel and
the taxpayers of the United States who annually provide billions
of dollars in financial and military support to Israel.
Halpern’s notable affiliations include:
• Membership on the board of the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy — an offshoot of the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the famed lobby for Israel,
two of whose longtime top executives are now under indictment
on espionage charges.
• Membership on the executive committee of the New Jersey
Regional Advisory Board of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai
B’rith (where Meryl Chertoff, the wife of Homeland Security
Secretary Michael Chertoff, has also been active in recent years);
• Membership on the New Jersey-Israel Commission, a state
agency established “to foster increased economic, scientific,
educational and cultural relations” between the state of
New Jersey and Israel.
• The Center for Public Policy of B’nai B’rith,
which describes itself as “the major link between Israel
and B’nai B’rith members and supporters around the
Even Celia Wexler, vice president for advocacy
at the liberal group Common Cause — which has never been accused
of being “anti-Semitic”—has commented about Halpern:
“She has been a very ardent, pro-Israeli person. .. . She
has a particular point of view. She is entitled to that point of
view. The problem is [whether she can] separate that point of view,
which is an advocacy point of view, from understanding how journalists
do their job, and that their fact-based reporting that sometimes
is going to be critical of Israel. And [we are] very concerned about
In addition, Halpern’s Republican Party affiliations also
indicate her special interest The former chairman of the board of
directors of the “neo-conservative” Republican Jewish
Coalition, Halpern and her husband Fred were ranked, in the 2000
election cycle, as being among the nation’s top 100 contributors
to political candidates, among them Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.).
The fact that Brownback has been on the receiving end of Halpern’s
largesse is particularly interesting since, as AFP previously pointed
out, Brownback was involved in a failed scheme — along with
Sen. Rick Santorum (RPenn.) — to set up a mechanism to scuttle
federal funding to colleges and universities that were found to
be allowing professors and students to make comments critical of
Israel and U.S. political favoritism for Israel.
Brownback openly suggested setting up a federal commission charged
with the responsibility of investigating incidents of so-called
“anti-Semitism” on American campuses.
Photograph of Cheryl Halpern.
Caption: "A SPECIAL INTEREST: If
you listened to public radio recently you may have been
surprised at how much it promoted the government’s
agenda. One explanation for this could be found in the fact
that individuals like Cheryl Halpern pictured above with
ties to special interest groups have taken over the board
that oversees what is played on the radio."
31, 2005.. American