Press Herald Apology Draws Heat
Publisher Richard Connor's apology for not offering more reportage of the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as "balance" to The Press Herald's coverage of a Ramadan ceremony has drawn withering criticism from a New York Times columnist and a Time.com blogger.
In "Message to Muslims: I'm Sorry," published Sunday in The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof apologizes to Muslims "for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you."
Connors' apology, Kristoff writes, is his inspiration. "Must coverage of law-abiding Muslims be 'balanced' by a discussion of Muslim terrorists?" he asks.
Time.com blogger James Poniewozik also responded to Connor's apology in a Sept. 14 post, "Paper to Readers: Sorry for Portraying Muslims as Human."
Poniewozik writes, "Here's where we are in America, 2010: There is now one group of Americans whose peaceful religious observance cannot be noted by decent people, unless it is 'balanced' by the mention of a vile crime committed in 2001 by people, with a perverted idea of the same religion, from the other side of the world."
Noting E.B. White's rule, "omit needless words," Connor writes, "If I'd followed that rule last week, I would have responded to criticism of our newspaper on 9/11 with this: 'Our coverage of the conclusion of the local Ramadan observance was excellent and we are proud of it. We did not adequately cover 9/11 on the 9/11 anniversary, which also should have been front-page news, in my opinion.'"
He goes on to say his "lack of precision led to mischaracterization and misunderstanding" and his words "were used to prove the maxim that a lie travels faster than truth. Mostly they allowed those with a personal ax to grind or a political agenda to advance to twist and misinterpret."