EDITOR ASKED TO EXPLAIN EDITING

Lisa Huang Fleischman writes to New York Times public editor Byron Calame:

Mr. Calame—I’ve never bothered to write the NY Times before, because your paper seems to make a practice of sinking to new lows every time I look, although I admit I, like many others, hardly ever look anymore. But this last was really contemptible.

Your paper profiled Cpl. Jeffrey Starr in an article about the 2000th casualty (of course). Here’s the article.

The paper quotes from a letter written by Cpl Starr to his girlfriend, found after his death by Starr’s father. The erstwhile paper of record states:

“Sifting through Corporal Starr’s laptop computer after his death, his father found a letter to be delivered to the marine’s girlfriend. ‘I kind of predicted this,’ Corporal Starr wrote of his own death. ‘A third time just seemed like I’m pushing my chances.’”

Perfectly in keeping, may I say, with the defeatist, elegiac, Vietnam-like attitude of the entire piece.

I’m sorry to say that the Times reporter dishonestly deleted the rest of the letter. Thanks to the brave corporal’s family, who forwarded the remainder of the letter to Michelle Malkin, we actually know what Corporal Starr really thought, not what the Times would like to use him to stand for.

Here’s what the rest of the letter says.

He wrote: “Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I’m writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I’m pushing my chances. I don’t regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it’s not to me. I’m here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark.”

(Emphasis mine—it’s the part that your reporter knowingly left out. Which only goes to show that everything—EVERYTHING—at the Times is in service of The Agenda.)

I know it just kills you guys to think that overwhelmingly our soldiers actually, consciously support the war, are perfectly aware of the dangers they face, and are as perfectly prepared to face them. I know it comforts all the Timesmen and women to think that soldiers are just sad, pathetic, barely literate dupes (when they aren’t being babykillers and Koran flushers), but in fact the soldiers view their lives as imbued with transcendent meaning, apparently something no Times reporter can claim. Maybe it’s just envy on the part of all your reporters that these American teenagers in uniform make history every day of their lives, while you all just continue to transparently twist the news and to accumulate contempt from the American people, which is now compounding at a daily rate.

Incidentally, I was a reserve army officer for twelve years. Sad, pathetic dupe that I am, I graduated Berkeley and Columbia Law School. (I understand you have a few Columbia J-School grads among your staff. Too bad. Everyone on campus knew that only the really dumb kids ended up in the J-School.)

Mr. Calame has a question or two to answer.

Posted by Tim B. on 10/28/2005 at 12:31 PM
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