Diane Rehm

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Diane Rehm
Birth name Diane Aed
Born (1936-09-21) September 21, 1936 (age 79)
Washington, D.C.
Show The Diane Rehm Show
Network NPR
Country United States
Spouse(s) John Rehm (1959-2014; his death)
Website thedianerehmshow.org

Diane Rehm (/ˈrm/; born Diane Aed; September 21,[1] 1936) is an American public radio talk show host. Her program, The Diane Rehm Show, is distributed nationally and internationally by National Public Radio. It is produced at WAMU, which is licensed to American University in Washington, D.C.

Early life[edit]

Diane Rehm was born in Washington, D.C. According to Rehm's autobiography, Finding My Voice, her father's family were Eastern Orthodox Christians from Ottoman Mersin, a city on the southern coast of Anatolia Turkey. According to Rehm, the family were Arabs, and her mother, an educated woman, was fluent in French and Arabic. Rehm's father immigrated to America in 1911, following his older brothers. He returned to Mersin to marry her mother, but found that she and her family were living in Alexandria, Egypt. He brought her to America in 1929; family memories of how the two met vary.[2] In a 2012 interview in the Washingtonian, she describes her father as coming from Beirut, Lebanon.[3]

Rehm attended William B. Powell Elementary and Roosevelt High School in Washington, D.C.[1] Upon graduation, she was employed by the city's highways department, where she became a radio dispatcher.[citation needed] She never attended college.


Rehm began her radio career in 1973[4] as a volunteer for WAMU's The Home Show. In 1979, she took over as the host of WAMU's morning talk show, Kaleidoscope, which was renamed The Diane Rehm Show in 1984.

Rehm has interviewed many political and cultural figures, including John McCain, Barack Obama, Madeleine Albright, and others. She has said that her most touching interview was with Fred Rogers of the PBS program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, conducted just before his death.[4] Rehm considers her interviews with Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton to have been "amazing experiences."[5]

She has written two autobiographical books. The first, Finding My Voice, dealt with her traditional upbringing in a Christian Arab household, her brief first marriage and divorce, her 50-year marriage to John Rehm, raising her children, the first 20 years of her radio career, and her battles with depression, osteoporosis, and spasmodic dysphonia.[6] Together with John Rehm she co-wrote Toward Commitment: A Dialogue about Marriage, which was published in 2002.

Corporation for Public Broadcasting report[edit]

In 2005, a private study funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting said Rehm booked 22 liberal guests for every 5 conservative guests. The study was criticized as a politicized attempt to, in Rehm's word, "scare" journalists with the accusation of liberal bias. One criticism of the study concerned its criteria of what constituted "liberal" – a category which included seemingly moderate Republicans such as Senator Chuck Hagel and former Representative Bob Barr.[7] The study was commissioned by Kenneth Tomlinson, whose appointment to the chairmanship of the CPB by George W. Bush had been criticized by liberals as politically motivated. Tomlinson hired Indiana consultant Frederick W. Mann, a conservative thinker previously associated with the Young America's Foundation, which has described itself as "the principal outreach organization of the Conservative Movement".[8] A report on the study by the CPB's Inspector General, Kenneth Konz, criticized Tomlinson's methods; the report led to Tomlinson's immediate resignation in November 2005.[9] According to the Washington Post, Diane Rehm herself "called Mann's findings 'unprofessional and simplistic.' [and] added 'I've been booking shows for 25 years. I don't think they have any idea what it takes to achieve the professionalism and expertise and the right people to express a variety of points of view. . . . What [Kenneth Tomlinson]'s doing, I think, is trying to scare public broadcasters.' "[7]


Rehm has been featured in three political movie documentaries: Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains, I.O.U.S.A.,[10] and Dinesh D'Souza's 2016: Obama's America which used her quote, "And then you've got the cover of Forbes magazine, a cover story by Dinesh D'Souza. I think nothing has turned my stomach so much in recent years as reading that piece."[11]

Allegations of anti-Semitism and the Bernie Sanders interview[edit]

On June 10, 2015, Rehm interviewed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and erroneously asserted that Sanders had dual citizenship with Israel, which Sanders denied. Rehm persisted with the false claim in the face of repeated denials from Sanders.[12][13][14][15] Sanders indicated that he was offended by the assumption.[13][14] Rehm's statements were criticized by David Harsanyi in The Federalist for being an anti-Semitic smear.[12] Sophia Tesfaye of Salon pointed out that Rehm apparently fell for an antisemitic canard and did not successfully fact-check her information before she conducted her interview with Sanders.[14] In The Times of Israel, Gedalyah Reback stated that the interview was controversial because Rehm seemed to have accused a Jewish U.S. presidential candidate of maintaining secret Israeli citizenship.[15]

Rehm apologized for her exchange with Sanders in a statement released later that day. “On today’s show I made a mistake. Rather than asking if 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. 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.”[16] Journalist Josh Marshall called her apology, "a total crock."[17] Law professor David Bernstein found it strange that both Rehm and her producer fell for what he felt was an obvious anti-Semitic hoax. He speculated that frequently heard strange accusations about Jewish supporters of Israel may have played a role.[18] Elizabeth Jepsen, NPR's ombudsman, took issue with both Rehm's interview and apology: "Far from putting anything to rest, Rehm has now taken a falsehood from the fringes of the Internet and moved it into the mainstream conversation."[19] Thomas Lifson in the American Thinker said that Diane Rehm "has unmasked herself as an anti-semite".[20]

Right to die[edit]

The Washington Post describes Rehm as a leading voice in the right to die debate.[21]

Honors and awards[edit]

A partial list of Rehm's honors and awards:

Personal life[edit]

Diane married John Rehm, her second husband, in 1959; he was working at the State Department, she was working as a secretary.[21] John Rehm died June 23, 2014.[25] She has two adult children, David and Jennifer.[4]

Rehm suffers from spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological condition that affects the quality of her voice.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Weeks, Linton (August 23, 1999). "Diane Rehm finds a voice of her own". Washington Post. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ Rehm, Diane (1999). Finding My Voice. Herndon, Virginia: Capital Books, Inc. 
  3. ^ Harris, Shane (11 April 2012). "What Made Me: NPR’s Diane Rehm". The Washingtonian. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Gatewood, Miranda. "Networking: Whos Whos, Whats What for Business Executives, "The Diane Rehm Show," A WOMAN'S VOICE". Networking Magazine. 
  5. ^ Ruben, Barbara (January 2010). "Rehm is the queen of talk radio". The Beacon. 
  6. ^ "The Diane Rehm Show: Finding My Voice". WAMU 88.5 FM, American University Radio. 
  7. ^ a b "Washington Post". Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  8. ^ Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism
  9. ^ "Washington Post". Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Diane Rehm". Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  11. ^ "News Roundup: Hour 1". Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Harsanyi, David (June 10, 2015). "NPR’s Diane Rehm Has A List Of Troublesome Jews She Wants You To Know About". The Federalist (Alexandria, Virginia). Retrieved June 10, 2015. Much like the “Israel-firster” attack, assuming that people who support Israel must be in possession of dual citizenship is a longstanding smear used by anti-Semites and other anti-Israel advocates to chill speech and question the allegiance of American Jews. Jews do often have a special affection or concern for Israel for obvious reasons. But since this support comports well with American interests and values there is no genuine conflict. And even those with dual citizenship–completely legitimate under U.S. laws–have absolutely no reason to undermine the United States. 
  13. ^ a b Gold, Hadas (June 10, 2015). "Bernie Sanders offended by Diane Rehm's Israeli citizenship question". Politico (Washington, D.C.). Retrieved June 10, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c Tesfaye, Sophia (June 10, 2015). "Diane Rehm’s massive Bernie Sanders “oops”: NPR host falls for anti-Semitic Israeli citizenship hoax". Salon (San Francisco, California). Retrieved June 10, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Reback, Gedalyah (June 10, 2015). "Radio host quizzes Jewish candidate Sanders on Israeli citizenship". The Times of Israel (Jerusalem, Israel). Retrieved June 10, 2015. 
  16. ^ Hensch, Mark (June 10, 2015). "Sanders blasts Internet 'nonsense': 'I do not have dual citizenship with Israel'". The Hill (Washington, D.C.). Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  17. ^ Marshall, Josh (11 June 2015). "Sorry, Diane, That's BS". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  18. ^ Bernstein, David (11 June 2015). "Why did Diane Rehm fall for an anti-Semitic hoax?". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  19. ^ Jepsen, Elizabeth (12 June 2015). "Diane Rehm And A Bungled Interview With Senator Bernie Sanders". NPR. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  20. ^ Lifson, Thomas (June 11, 2015). "NPR host resurrects anti-Semitic canard". American Thinker (El Cerrito, California). Retrieved June 22, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Rosenwald, Michael (14 February 2015). "NPR host Diane Rehm emerges as key force in the right-to-die debate". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  22. ^ 69th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2010.
  23. ^ http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/apr/27/access-honors-arab-americans-of-the-year-at/
  24. ^ "The President Presents the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal". Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  25. ^ "JOHN B. REHM". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 13, 2014. 

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