Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The NY Times responds on the Cpl Starr flap 
I didn't cover it on this blog, since others were already all over it. But I did write the NY Times public editor's office privately raising my objection to their treatment of Cpl Starr and their exclusion of relevant information from his letter home.

Via the Public Editor, I recieved this response from NY Times senior editor Bill Borders:

Jim Dao's article about the 2,000 dead last Wednesday was entirely fair,
and so, within it, was our presentation of Corporal Jeffrey Starr.

The most prominent part of the presentation of Starr was the picture and
caption at the top of Page A15. The caption represented him this way: "His
father, Brian Starr, said his son believed in the war but was tired of the
harsh life." The article also reported that even after his son's death
Brian Starr "remained convinced that invading Iraq was the right thing to

It is true that the article did not quote everything that Corporal Starr
said in his e-mail, like his reference to Iraqi freedom, any more than it
quoted everything said by all the others quoted in the article, who
represented all sorts of shades of opinion. But the article was completely
fair in its representation of the views of Corporal Starr and his father.

And no one who has read the entire article could possibly conclude that it
was colored by an anti-war point of view. Here, for example, is the
seventh paragraph, prominently played on the front page:

"Many of those service members returned voluntarily to war because they
burned with conviction in the rightness of the mission. Others were driven
by powerful loyalty to units and friends. For some it was simply their

In its very first paragraph, the article introduces Sgt. Anthony Jones, who
was killed in June weeks after the birth of his second son. Farther down in
the piece, it quotes his young widow:

"Mrs. Jones, 26, said she struggled at first to contain her anger that her
husband was sent to Iraq instead of Germany. But she has consoled herself
with the conviction that he died for a cause he supported. And she firmly
rejects the antiwar protests of Cindy Sheehan, saying they dishonor the
fallen. ''I hope she doesn't have my husband's name on a cross,'' Mrs.
Jones said. ''My husband, if he had a choice, that's how he would want to
die. As a soldier.''


I guess the Times can selectively quote and distort any one individual now? Is that the new policy?

Splash, out


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