Bernie Sanders doesn't have Israeli citizenship, WAMU's Diane Rehm apologizes - iMediaEthics

iMediaEthics publishes international media ethics news stories and investigations into journalism ethics lapses.


Home » Apologies & Retractions»

Diane Rehm (Credit:

WAMU’s Diane Rehm apologized June 10 for asking presidential candidate Bernie Sanders if he had Israeli citizenship.

In a Facebook post, Rehm, whose show is aired on NPR, explained her question came after seeing something on Facebook. She said she “stated it as fact,” when she shouldn’t have.

The interview is here.

“On today’s show, I made a mistake. Rather than asking Senator and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders whether he had dual U.S./Israeli citizenship, as I had read in a comment on Facebook, I stated it as fact,” Rehm stated on Facebook. “He corrected me, saying he did not know where the question came from. I apologized immediately.”

“I want to apologize as well to all our listeners for having made an erroneous statement. I am sorry for the mistake. However, I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest.”

“Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel,” Rehm said, according to Politico. Sanders responded, “Well, no, I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I’m an American. I don’t know where that question came from.”

Sanders added that “he resented ‘some of the nonsense that goes on in the Internet,’ telling Rehm that he was offended by her question,” Salon reported.

Sanders’ spokesperson Michael Briggs told Politico that “I’ve never heard the question come up before.”

The National Jewish Democratic Council called the questions about his citizenship “appalling” as well as “unbelievably offensive and completely indefensible,” BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray tweeted.

According to CNN Money,  “a representative for the ‘Diane Rehm Show’ told CNNMoney that it was a producer who spotted the false information on Facebook and included it in the host’s prep material. But in her statement, Rehm accepted responsibility for the mistake.”

Earlier this year, NPR established new guidelines following Rehm’s speeches for end-of-life advocacy organization Compassion and Choices, as iMediaEthics wrote.


CORRECTION - June 10, 2016 10:25 PM EST

An earlier version of this article referred to “duel citizenship” instead of “dual citizenship.” We have corrected and regret the error. Thank you to Valerie Alia for pointing this out!

Submit a tip / Report a problem

Bernie Sanders doesn’t have Israeli citizenship, WAMU’s Diane Rehm apologizes

Share this article: