Saturday, April 16, 2005

The New York Times Is A Brick Wall

For a time, post-Jayson Blair, you could count on some kind of response from the New York Times when you wrote them an e-mail.

I guess not anymore.

I haven't received a response from this letter that I sent yesterday to the editors of the Metro section and the paper itself and to Daniel Okrent.

And...hell...if you're a regular reader you know I could have been meaner...

The New York Times did publish a correction in today's paper about the Nina Bernstein article. But it was for pretty much everything else they wrote in the article. They ought to be ashamed. They ought to be sued.

Here is their correction, followed by my reaction (again in bold print), then followed by my ignored and unanswered letter:


Because of editing errors, an article yesterday about a new York teenager born in Guinea who has been detained in an immigration manner, amid government claims that she is a security threat, referred incorrectly to comments by her lawyer and mother. The lawyer said the girl was innocent and willing to cooperate with investigators; she did not say the girl was a cooperating witness. The girl's mother said the girl had been detained by mistake, along with her father, who has political asylum and was awaiting a green card. The mother did not say he might have missed an immigration appointment.

Will there be a correction in tomorrow's paper for this correction. There are not "goverment claims." There is no official government claim on the record, only a document that The New York Times claims to have seen somehow. That document is a singular claim, not multiple claims. The New York Times again has done these girls a disservice. This irresponsible journalism should be a crime.

Dear New York Times,

I'm one of the two editors for a new blog called "Detainment" at which was started a few days ago to help the two 16-year-old girls that were detained in late March as "would-be suicide bombers" according to your newspaper and your newspaper alone.

I would like to know why an article by Nina Bernstein that appeared in today's paper is still claiming that the girls are being held under suspicion of terror claims when two days ago Reuters reported that they were only being charged with immigration violations.

I think it's completely irresponsible to again print a story that contains no statements from any federal officials but again condems the girls as possible terrorists.

The first sentence of the third paragraph in Nina Bernstein's story is particularily offensive. It was completely wrong and a lie to write "[t]he government suggests otherwise" right after the mother of the Guinean girl said "[s]he's a good girl, she's a family girl." Irrespective of any "documents" that you did or did not see there is not one shred of evidence or innuendo that suggests the Guinean girl is not "a family girl."

You owe the family an apology and a correction for that highly defamatory and snarky response which might be okay on a blog but isn't appropriate for a newspaper. And I doubt Ms. Bernstein even wrote that line since her work on this story has been pretty decent.

Has she seen the "document" you claim that exists...or did the terrible reporter that for some astonishing reason has a story on today's front page again when she should have been fired years ago. Of course, I'm referring to the scoundrel Judith Miller. In that front page article, the scoundrel doesn't even mention one of the key indicted parties until the end of her story. Perhaps this Brit is another friend of Judy's (NOTE - The Common Ills exposed this little trick by Judy.).

The Reuters article published two days ago DID contain statements from TWO federal officials who claimed that the girls were being held only for immigration violations.

For your paper to ignore the FACTS and to again continue basing stories on UNNAMED SOURCES is yellow journalism of the lowest caliber.

After you print an apology and a correction for your slur of a statement against the Guinean girl being a family should also explain why you didn't refer to the federal officials who said "otherwise" and why your paper didn't even contact them.

This is the link to the Reuters article: link though I'm sure your paper read it cause it contained kind of a knock against your Judithmillerish "exclusive."

""We're detaining them on immigration violations, and that is it," said ICE spokesman Manny Van Pelt."

"The girls do not face criminal charges, said Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District in New York. "It's an immigration case. It's not a case that we're prosecuting, and to my knowledge it's not with any prosecutor's office at this point," Nardoza said. "It's strictly an immigration matter.""

It's a shame that Jayson Blair is considered a "national disgrace" for plagiarism but Judith Miller continues to remain employed by you and you allow stories like today's propaganda piece to appear in the "paper of record" (a term I might add employed by many of the staff at the Times despite but the departing Public Editor may choose to believe).

Ron Brynaert


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