Diane Rehm (; born Diane Aed; September 21,
1936) is the host of ''Diane Rehm: On My Mind'' podcast, produced at WAMU
, which is licensed to American University
in Washington, D.C.. She also hosts a monthly book club series, ''Diane Rehm Book Club'', at WAMU. Rehm is also the former American public radio talk show host of ''The Diane Rehm Show
'', which was distributed nationally and internationally by National Public Radio
. The show was also produced at WAMU
Rehm had announced her plans to retire from hosting the show after the 2016 elections. The final program was recorded and distributed on December 23, 2016. Rehm announced she was going to host a weekly podcast, which she began doing in January 2017.
Rehm is also the co-producer, narrator, and interviewer of ''When My Time Comes'', distributed by PBS stations across the country. Her book by the same name was published in 2020 by Knopf. ''The Washington Post
'' describes Rehm as a leading voice in the right to die
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
. According to Rehm, the family were Arabs
, and her mother was an educated woman who was fluent in both French
. Rehm's father immigrated to the United States 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 the United States in 1929; family memories of how the two met vary.
In a 2012 interview in ''The Washingtonian
'', she describes her father as coming from Beirut
Rehm attended William B. Powell Elementary and Roosevelt High School
in Washington, D.C.
Upon graduation, she was employed by the city's highways department, where she became a radio dispatcher
Rehm married John Rehm, her second husband, in 1959; he was working at the State Department
, where she was working as a secretary.
John Rehm died June 23, 2014, after he stopped eating and drinking to end his suffering from Parkinson's disease. After his death, Rehm became a staunch advocate for medical aid in dying
, arguing that no one should suffer needlessly in the way that her husband did.
She has two adult children, David and Jennifer
, and two grandchildren. On October 14, 2017, Diane Rehm and John Hagedorn were married at the Washington National Cathedral.
In 1998, Rehm began having difficulty speaking normally. Eventually, she was treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital
and was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia
, a neurological condition that affects the quality of her voice. The condition is not curable, but treatable. After a short break, Rehm's career continued and her radio show went on until December 2016.
Rehm began her radio career in 1973
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
. She has said that her most touching interview was with Fred Rogers
of the PBS
program ''Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
'', conducted just before his death.
Rehm has described her interviews with Bill Clinton
and Hillary Clinton
to have been "amazing experiences."
She has written three 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
, and spasmodic dysphonia
Together with John Rehm she co-wrote ''Toward Commitment: A Dialogue About Marriage'', which was published in 2002.
Her memoir, ''On My Own'', was published by Alfred A. Knopf
The final broadcast of ''The Diane Rehm Show'' was aired on December 23, 2016.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting report
In 2005, a private study funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
reported that 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
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".
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. According to ''The Washington Post
'', Rehm personally "called Mann's findings 'unprofessional and simplistic.' nd
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 enneth Tomlinson
s doing, I think, is trying to scare public broadcasters.' "
Rehm has been featured in three political movie documentaries
: ''Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains
'', 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."
2015 Bernie Sanders interview
On June 10, 2015, Rehm interviewed 2016 Democratic
presidential candidate Bernie Sanders
, and stated that Sanders had dual citizenship
; this was not true.
Sanders denied that he holds dual citizenship, but Rehm repeated her assertion of the senator's dual citizenship as a fact.
Rehm's statements were criticized by David Harsanyi
in ''The Federalist
'' for being an anti-Semitic
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.
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.
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." Jewish Journalist Josh Marshall
called her apology "a total crock."
Jewish 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.
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."
Following the 2014
death of her husband—who was unable to get physician assisted suicide
drugs due to their illegality in Maryland
—Rehm became an advocate for right to die
. NPR's ombudsman deemed that her related fundraising for Compassion & Choices
violated the NPR ethical standards, and she agreed to stop attending fundraising dinners.
In February 2020 she published a book containing 40 interviews with people involved in and holding different views on questions related to the end-of-life care and the right-to-die movement. Titled ''When My Time Comes: Conversations About Whether Those Who Are Dying Should Have the Right to Determine When Life Should End'', its foreword was contributed by John Grisham
. She is also collaborating with Joe Fab
on a documentary with the same title that is scheduled to be released in 2021.
Honors and awards
A partial list of Rehm's honors and awards:
* 1999 Washingtonian of the Year by ''Washingtonian
* 2000 Fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists
, honoring extraordinary contributions to journalism.
* 2003 Calvary Women's Services Hope award, honoring her volunteer and professional work for women in need.
* 2003 Montgomery County Chapter of the National Organization for Women's Susan B. Anthony Award, honoring her advocacy of women's right in the community.
* 2006 Urbino Press Award
* 2009 Peabody Award
(presented in 2010)
* 2010 Foremother Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Research Center for Women & Families
* 2013 ACCESS
Arab-American of the Year
* 2013 National Humanities Medal
* 2017 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award
* ''When My Time Comes: Conversations About Whether Those Who Are Dying Should Have the Right to Determine When Life Should End'' (Knopf, 2020).
''The Diane Rehm Show'' official site
When My Time Comes documentary film websiteAutor in conversation with Kojo Nnamdi
sponsored by Politics and Prose
in Washington, D. C. on 3 February 2020
Category:American people of Lebanese descent
Category:American radio journalists
Category:American talk radio hosts
Category:American women journalists
Category:Middle Eastern Christians
Category:American people of Syrian descent
Category:National Humanities Medal recipients
Category:Peabody Award winners
Category:People from Washington, D.C.
Category:People with voice disorders
Category:Women radio journalists
Category:Women radio presenters