Saturday, March 24th | 8 Nisan 5778


Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

May 12, 2016 3:51 pm

Michigan Public Radio Refuses to Broadcast ‘Happy 68th Birthday, Israel’ Message Because It ‘Could Imply Advocacy’

avatar by Lea Speyer

Email a copy of "Michigan Public Radio Refuses to Broadcast ‘Happy 68th Birthday, Israel’ Message Because It ‘Could Imply Advocacy’" to a friend
MPR refused to air a "Happy 68th Birthday Israel" message. Photo: MPR.

MPR refused to air a “Happy 68th Birthday Israel” message. Photo: MPR.

A Michigan radio station refused to air a message in honor of Israel’s Independence Day, because doing so would create the impression that it supports the Jewish state, Deadline Detroit reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Michigan Public Radio (MPR) informed listener Lisa Lis that since she donated at least $365, she was able to sponsor a day’s broadcast and have a special message read live on air six times. Lis — who, according to the report, is a strong supporter of Israel, is married to an Israeli and has a son serving in the Israel Defense Forces — chose to honor Israel’s Independence Day with the message, “Happy 68th Birthday, Israel.”

The original version of the message had the word “blessing,” which was later dropped after MPR officials said it could not air messages with religious overtones. Lis was then informed that the message could not be broadcast, because the station hadn’t received two months advance notice. However, on April 26, the associate director of development at MPR, Alison Warren, sent Lis an email rejecting the message entirely.

“We have determined that this message would compromise the station’s commitment to impartiality and that it crosses over into advocacy, or could imply advocacy,” the email read.

Following the email, Lis and her husband attempted to “argue their point” with the station, but their requests fell on deaf ears, the report said. MPR even revised its sponsorship policies “to make it clearer for individuals” what messages are considered acceptable by the station.

Lis, upset with MPR’s decision, took her battle public, writing last Friday in a weekly newsletter that reaches 1,000 people:

Why would Public Radio need to be impartial about a legally recognized country other than the fact, many want her wiped from the face of the earth. Would it be a problem if it were the birthday of England, Norway or South Sunday? Israel is a hot button country that the world has accepted as questionable and debatable and the major infraction Israel has committed is purely her existence. By the way, I truly look forward to expression my same salutation when Palestine can celebrate her birthday.

Steve Schram, executive director and general manager of MPR, defended the station’s decision on Monday, telling Deadline Detroit that the Israel birthday message “was denied because it doesn’t meet our day sponsorship policies, which state ‘typical messages honor an individual’s birthday, anniversary, retirement, graduation, or other personal event.’ In accordance with our rules…announcements containing political or religious messages are not acceptable.”

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Linda

    Stupid is as stupid does! Shame on you NPR>

  • Jonathan C. Marchant

    NPR receives a stipend from the federal government. They had no compunction about covering (and drooling over)”art venues”, including the showing of the “Piss Christ” – a crucifix stuck in a jar of urine, how elegant is THAT – among other tasteful tidbits of barbarity. Don’t let them occupy space in your head.

  • There are “rules” and there are “rules”… all made up by man. Man is not perfect… and Michigan Public Radio is wrong. If you look at what the winner of the day’s contest stated he did not implicate the station at all… She merely used the station as a vehicle to deliver the message.

    I would be happy at no charge to have her send out Happy Birthday greetings to Israel on Shalom America heard on WINT Sundays from 7-9AM and radio-j com 24/7. I have been a broadcaster for over 50 years. Public radio is “owned” by the public it is not owned by a private entity.

    I would argue this point to the Supreme Court for denying her right to free speech on a “public radio station”.

  • Am Israel jai ,for ever and ever ,and God bless Israel .

  • Bob Canter

    I hope the entire Jewish community in Michigan stops making all donations to MPR and the brain-dead idiots that run it.

  • mort gantman

    I wonder if MPR celebrates July 4th, or is it too political?

  • Ed Lipke

    Just don’t give financial support to NPR , smarten up!

  • enufizenuf

    When they made the offer without all those specific qualifications and took her money they entered in to a contract which they subsequently broke. Ms. Lis is entitled to damages.

  • nat cheiman

    What is advocacy? These idiots are devoid of morality

  • wyn harter

    The blind cannot see the hand of our God fulfilling His
    promise to the Jewish people. He has given our brothers
    their land, and He has prospered His people, Israel. We
    praise our God for fulfilling His glorious promise to His
    people, Israel.

    ‘simply said’

  • Sam Harris

    F–k Them. Never donate to NPR.

    • Stein

      Pretty much, yeah.

      I will boycott NPR and encourage my friends to do the same.

      I occasionally and my friends frequently listen to NPR.

      The fact NPR is Antizionist in extremist ways, means, NPR is an inherently unreliable newssource.

    • Gavin Dembo

      Well said.

  • Pearl

    Gee, I wonder if a Muslim would have requested a similar message for Eid or any other Muslim holiday, would they have refused. Doubt it.
    Me thinks something stinks in Michigan !

  • Erwin

    I hope you demanded tour money back.

  • Alizah Hochstead

    From AMerican liberalism and the state where Father Coughlin preached antisemitism in the 1940’s. WHy I am not surprised

  • Ani

    This is just nuts. They think that congratulating a country on the anniversary of its birth is “too political”? I bet they’d have no trouble congratulating anyone from Queen Elizabeth on the anniversary date of her reign to the Pope. But Israel? Oh no….

    Gotta love those liberals. Let’s boycott Public Radio. Not a single dollar of my money goes to them anymore. We need a BDS movement against dumb anti-Israel liberals.

  • H. Givon

    The state of Michigan has the largest Muslim population in the U.S. This fact has likely affected the decision of the local radio station MPR not to wish the democratic ally of the United States a happy 68th birthday. Sad but true.

  • Paul Leber

    MPR is pretty much behaving as NPR does where Israel is concerned.–Hostile 24/7. Public radio was lost to the left long ago. Why a sentient supporter of Israel would lend any support to public radio is inexplicable

  • Peter Joffe

    I am sure that Michigan Radio will be among the first to congratulate Iran and their special days. Perhaps they will even congratulate Assad when he gets ‘reelected’.

  • steve

    garbage. they did not want to upset the moslems of michigan

    • Anschel

      Unfortunately, you are absolutely correct. The station lacks courage to do the right thing. For the heck of it, listeners to the station have the right to complain to the FCC in Washington — it may not do much good, but the station will feel compelled to take time and money to respond — a cost it should have to bear for its cowardice.

  • Just wondering if they got their money back. Shame on the station manager, this is still the United States of America. The day was bought and paid for, Is MPR not standing behind free speech?.

  • Only a Leftist Jew like Schram would defy logic with this twisted attempt to justify the unjustifiable.
    The remedy lies in the courts or in demonstrations.

    • Reform School

      Since he took control of the FCC and IRS, CIC (Coward-in-Chief) and Jew-hater Barry Soetoro has harassed his enemies and issuing “Get-Out-of-Jail-Free” cards to his allies. Official BBC (British Bigot Corporation) junior partner NPR (National Progressive Radio) defies the letter and spirir of laws forbidding all 501 (c) not-for-profit entities from political candidate advocacy. NPR has been advocating against Donald Trump since the day he announced and (lately) against Hillary Clinton. TPrescribed penalties for such actions include revocation of station licenses and tax exemptions.