Truth in Media Activism: Letters to Editors

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Mar. 22, 1996

To: The New York Times

Albright Stoned, Story Stonewalled

Re. An "edited" Reuters story (3/21/96)



Toby Harshaw,Letters Editor


New York, NY

Dear Mr. Harshaw,

Have you no shame? Don't you know that altering the facts in a news story puts the New York Times at the same level as the old Soviet Pravda, or the Nazi press?

Is it not enough for you to have tucked a major news story - the stoning of the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. - at the bottom of an inside page under a minuscule headline? Is it not enough that you tried to cover it up further by inserting another, less important article about Bosnia on the front page? But you had to also alter the news!

The original Reuter's wire (which you used) said: "Madeleine Albright, the American ambassador to the United Nations, cut short a walk round Vukovar's market place after she was mobbed by a crowd (of angry Serbs) shouting 'bitch' and 'fascist'." The wire report also said that, as Albright and the U.S. ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith hurried back to their car, a man shouted: "You have your Croats, go back to them!" A hail of stone stones which ensued damaged the press bus which trailed Albright's car.

The Associated Press account of the event was even more vivid. It also reported about Albright being called a "bitch" and a "fascist" - the words your editors excised from the New York Times story. By contrast to your altering the news, today's Arizona Republic, for example, carried the AP story at the top of a page under an 11-inch headline, "U.S. Envoy to U.N. Target of Angry Croatian Serbs." Others, like Prof. J.P. Maher of Northeastern Illinois University, for example, referred to Albright the "mad cow."

Your famous claim is that you publish "All the News That's Fit to Print." I suggest you change it to fit reality: "All the News That Fits Our Opinions."


Best regards,

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Bob Djurdjevic

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Also check out... "Does WSJ Dance to Wall St. Bankers' Tunes?""Clinton Fiddles While Milosevic Burns""Let the Bombing Begin?  Not!" , "What's Good for the Goose..."  and "Journal's Rotten Apples" (Wall Street Journal); and "Stock buybacks: Wall St.'s duping of Main St.", Business Week).