Diane Rehm Assumes Sanders Has Dual Citizenship — Based on a Facebook Comment

June 10th, 2015 10:58 PM

Among the many tired, bogus complaints heard from the establishment press is the one about how careful they are compared to the reckless knaves in the blogosphere and New Media. You see, they only use reliable sources, while bloggers will believe anything anyone writes or posts on the Internet.

Well, I suspect there are very few people in the blogosphere dumb enough to rely on a Facebook comment and then, without any further research, treating it as established fact in a discussion with a sitting United States Senator and 2016 presidential candidate. But that's what WAMU's Diane Rehm did on Tuesday in her syndicated NPR broadcast (HT Washington Free Beacon via Hot Air):

Transcript (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Diane Rehm: Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel.

Bernie Sanders: Well, no I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I’m an American. I don’t know where that question came from. I am an American citizen, and I have visited Israel on a couple of occasions. No, I’m an American citizen, period.

Rehm: I understand from a list we have gotten that you were on that list.

Sanders: No.

Rehm: Forgive me if that is—

Sanders: That’s some of the nonsense that goes on in the internet. But that is absolutely not true.

Rehm: Interesting. Are there members of Congress who do have dual citizenship or is that part of that fable?

Sanders: I honestly don’t know but I have read that on the internet. You know, my dad came to this country from Poland at the age of 17 without a nickel in his pocket. He loved this country. I am, you know, I got offended a little bit by that comment, and I know it’s been on the internet. I am obviously an American citizen and I do not have any dual citizenship.

The Free Beacon reported that Rehm's backtracking contained a startling admission (links are in original):

Rehm gave a statement to Jewish Journal this afternoon about the incident, saying she was sorry for making a mistake but “glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest.” She also said she’d read about his supposed dual citizenship in a Facebook comment.

A Facebook comment?

Rehm, WAMU and NPR haven't further discussed the origins of the "list" to which she referred. But since she mentioned Facebook, many are focusing on a graphic found there which on its face lacks credibility for more reasons than I can enumerate in a limited space.

Rehm's apology indicates that she believes she should have asked a question instead of just making an assertion about Sanders' dual citizenship. That's not right at all. She should have investigated the matter before she went on the air so she didn't waste listeners' time talking about a claim that's completely bogus.

For his part, Sanders was forgiving and didn't consider the matter serious. Of course not. NPR is the home team. He'd be blowing a gasket if it the incident had occurred at a center-right outlet.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.