Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

May 6, 2008
6:07 PM

CONTACT: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
Isabel Macdonald
212 633 6700 x 310

NYT Again Excludes Critics From Iraq War Discussion Paper Reprises One-Sided
Panel to Discuss "Mission Accomplished"

NEW YORK - May 6 - The New York Times' May 4 Week in Review section featured a discussion of the state of the Iraq War with advocates of that waró-the same advocates who prompted a FAIR action alert on March 17. The following letter was sent to New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt, Op-Ed page editor David Shipley and Week in Review editor Sam Tanenhaus. Their contact information is listed below, as is FAIR's earlier alert.

Clark Hoyt, public editor
Sam Tanenhaus, Week in Review editor
David Shipley, Op-ed page editor

Dear Sirs:

On March 16, the New York Times presented a discussion of the Iraq War with "nine experts on military and foreign affairs"--all of whom supported George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq. As FAIR asked in a March 17 Action Alert, why should the debate over the war should be restricted to those who made erroneous predictions about the invasion? FAIR supporters sent many emails to the paper, but we received no response.

On May 4, the Week in Review section featured the exact same line-up of "experts," this time reacting to the fifth anniversary of George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech. Thus, Times readers could hear from Richard Perle of the American Enterprise Institute--who, five years ago, penned an op-ed for USA Today (5/2/03) headlined "Relax, Celebrate Victory." The Times also shared the views of AEI's Danielle Pletka, who five years ago said on CNBC (5/2/03), "We just won a war in Iraq."

Over the course of the Iraq War, many commentators have pointed out that the pundits and analysts who pushed for the Iraq invasion in the first place are still dominant figures in the media debate over the war--as if the fact that they were wrong were unimportant, or even evidence of their seriousness.

As the Times defined the May 4 feature, the authors were asked to "identify a significant challenge facing the American and Iraqi leadership today and to propose one specific step to help overcome that challenge."

Why is the Times only interested in hearing Iraq War advocates address those issues?

Peter Hart
Activism Director


New York Times
Public editor
Clark Hoyt
(212) 556-7652

Week In Review editor
Sam Tanenhaus

Op-ed page editor
David Shipley