Yesterday, I told you how the L.A. Times edited a Reuters story to remove information about a satellite recording, which allegedly proves that the car bearing Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was speeding towards a U.S. checkpoint.
I told you that I would give The Times until today to report that information — and that, if they failed to do so, I would write the Readers’ Representative to inquire.
Not only has The Times failed to report that information today, it has once again excised a passage relating to the alleged satellite recording.
So, as promised, I have sent the letter. Here it is:
Dear Ms. Gold,
Your paper recently ran two Reuters stories concerning the shooting of the car with Giuliana Sgrena. Each of the Reuters stories contained the following quote:
CBS news has reported that a U.S. satellite had filmed the shooting and that it had been established the car carrying Calipari was traveling at more than 60 mph per hour [sic] as it approached the U.S. checkpoint in Baghdad.
The L.A. Times reprints of these stories, published April 30, 2005 (“U.S., Italy Fail to Agree on Slaying “), and May 1, 2005 (“Italy to Step Up Inquiry Into Agent’s Death in Iraq”), both omitted the above quote. The L.A. Times versions presented the issue of the car’s speed as a swearing contest between American soldiers, on one hand, and Sgrena and her driver, on the other. No mention of the satellite evidence appeared in the L.A. Times edits:
I am curious to know why this was done. The only arguably legitimate reason I can imagine is that L.A. Times editors have reason to doubt the reports about the satellite recording. But, if that’s the case, I would expect them to report the facts supporting their doubts. After all, the story is in wide circulation, with CBS News, Reuters, and AFP all reporting it (albeit all based on the CBS News report). If there is reason to doubt the story, the public should know that.
If the passage was cut for other reasons, the public should know that too. I can’t imagine that it was done for space reasons. Since this incident happened, the L.A. Times has run numerous articles reporting Sgrena’s allegations that the car had been going only 25-30 mph. This is a critical issue in the controversy between Italy and the U.S. over the shooting. Under these circumstances, space can’t be a legitimate reason for omitting the alleged existence of definitive proof that the car was speeding.
I would appreciate it if you would pass along the editors’ reasons for cutting this passage out of the Reuters stories. I will be happy to print any response on my blog. Thanks.
As always, I will let you know what I hear in response.
UPDATE: I sent a follow-up e-mail:
Re my previous e-mail:
I am also interested to know why, in the first story, editors changed the word “killing” in the first sentence of the Reuters story to the more sinister-sounding word “slaying.”
Any response(s) will be printed when I receive them.