Time For Diane Rehm To Retire
It was an astonishing moment – because what Diane Rehm said wasn’t true at all. Senator Sanders does not have dual citizenship with Israel. He was born in the USA.
The idea that Bernie Sanders has dual Israeli-American citizenship is just another stupid right wing conspiracy theory spread on the Internet, equivalent to the rumors that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, not in the United States. Behind both rumors is bigotry. In the case of Obama, the rumors were racist, meaning to imply that no one with African ancestry could be trusted with the White House. In the case of Sanders, the bigotry is anti-Semitic, implying that Sanders can’t be trusted because he is Jewish, rather than Christian. All Jews, the conspiracy suggests, are really Israelis at heart, and as foreigners, will betray the United States the first chance they get.
When Senator Sanders explained to Rehm that he doesn’t have dual citizenship at all, Rehm retorted that she had proof. “I understand from a list we have gotten that you were on that list,” she said. A list? That’s a play straight out of the McCarthyist handbook.
The truth is that this supposed list is a fraud. When she was confronted at the end of her radio show, Diane Rehm admitted that she got her information from a comment on a post on Facebook.
People listen to Diane Rehm’s nationally-broadcast radio show because they believe that Rehm has the intelligence and wisdom to do careful research about the people she interviews, with a staff to support her efforts. That Rehm doesn’t even bother to fact check information she finds in comments on Facebook shows that this belief in Rehm’s integrity and intelligence is not well-founded.
A radio show that repeats bigoted, outlandish rumors found on Facebook as if they are fact has no place on NPR. It is time for Diane Rehm to retire.