Dear Terry Gross,
I am a huge fan of Fresh Air. I listen to every episode. I greatly admire your interviewing skill and your obvious in-depth preparation for every interview.
Having said that, I was extremely disappointed by your interview with Lawrence Wright. I realize that you are not a hard-hitting investigative reporter and that’s not the kind of show Fresh Air is. I realize that your guests are invited onto the show with the intention of portraying them in a favorable light. In all the time I’ve been listening, I’ve never heard you shred a guest, nor would I expect to. But the other side of that coin is that if that’s the kind of show you do, then you’d better be pretty darn discriminating in who you invite, and Wright, despite his self-professed expertise and alleged objectivity, doesn’t cut it.
His reporting on the Middle East conflict, like the supposed facts (many of which are anything but) that he rattled off on your show, are obviously slanted against Israel. It is beyond me how anyone can claim to be an expert on Israel, which he professes himself to be, who so thoroughly and completely butchers the pronunciation of an Israeli town he claimed to have visited which plays a critical role in the current conflict (“seh-de-rat”? Really? Oh, my God!), as well as the name of one of the biggest daily newspapers in the country (ha-AH-retz, not ha-ah-RETZ).
On the subject of facts, just one example of an outright falsehood… Wright claimed that Hamas stopped firing rockets into Israel during the “truce.” In fact, rockets from Gaza continued to rain down on Gaza throughout the “truce.”
He also criticized Israel for not honoring the “spirit of the truce” by withholding the blockade, but did not bother to mention that Israel never asked for or agreed to the truce and said when Hamas first announced it that the only reason they were agreeing to a “truce” is because Israel had destroyed much of their terrorist infrastructure and they were going to use the “truce” to rebuild it. This is, in fact, exactly what they did, and for Israel to have eased the blockade when they new full well that any dual-purpose supplies brought into Gaza were going to be used to rebuild the terrorist infrastructure would have been simply stupid.
I cannot fail to mention Wright’s profoundly stupid comment at the end of the interview that a great step toward peace would be for Hamas to release Gilad Shalit unconditionally. He’s a clue for you and Wright: Hamas doesn’t WANT peace. There has never been any sign, not even a little one, at any time, that Hamas is interested in anything but the destruction of Israel. Why, then, should they make a peace gesture such as the absurd one he suggested?
Really, Terry, if you’re going to stick with the NPR trend of news coverage that is decidedly biased against Israel, then the least you could do is interview someone with a better claim to expertise and slightly more respect for truth than Wright.