Bloody Sunday Times

Equally disturbing was Soldier A's assertion that British lawyers destroyed the original statement he had prepared for the inquiry, substituting instead their own statement for him to sign, which omitted key details. Soldier A's confessions gained wide currency when they were broadcast as part of a 1997 documentary on Britain's Channel 4.

This past January, the Blair government agreed to reopen an investigation into Bloody Sunday. In April, the Dublin Sunday Tribune quoted from a sworn affidavit given by an unnamed Bloody Sunday eyewitness, saying that a high-ranking British official had told her the night before the march to avoid the area because "this is going to be one bloody Sunday."

Had Evans and the Times published what their reporters knew back in 1972--or any time in the ensuing 26 years--they might well have forced this evidence into the open decades earlier.

One wonders whether Evans's journalistic conscience ever tugged him toward publishing the version of events his reporters found. In the foreword to Northern Ireland: A Report on the Conflict, a book published by Times reporters in 1972, Evans wrote elliptically of a British "clamor for self-censorship" that followed some of the Times's reporting on Northern Ireland. This prompted Evans to quote H. L. Mencken: "Reporters come in as newspaper men, trained to get the news, and eager to get it; they end as tin-horn statesmen, full of dark secrets and unable to write the truth if they tried."

Peretz Speaks!

In the flood of articles that have appeared about The New Republic's Stephen Glass fiasco, there is one voice conspicuously absent: that of TNR "editor-in-chief and chairman" Martin Peretz. Peretz did not make himself available on the record to The Washington Post or Forbes Digital Tool--the publications that first exposed Glass's multiple fictional efforts--or any of the follow-ups, letting editor Charles Lane speak instead.

Tracked down by the Voice, Peretz actually said a couple of sensible things. When I mentioned to Peretz the paragraph in Jack Shafer's Slate article listing no fewer than 20 names of organizations, people, and entities in Glass's TNR articles that appear to have been fabricated, he agreed that it was devastating. "We're going to produce our own list," Peretz pledged.

And Peretz agreed that the magazine erred in not catching Glass sooner. "In retrospect," Peretz said, Glass "was probably always sending us signals" that his work was phony. Peretz pointed to the name of the bogus software firm in the article that finally tripped Glass up--Jukt Micronics--suggesting that Jukt was a word for a trick. Could be--the Oxford English Dictionary includes an old English verb jouk meaning to move swiftly to elude, so Jukt might have been a homonym for the verb's past tense.

Most of the rest of the conversation was off the record, but Peretz made it clear that he feels The New Republic's reputation and credibility have not been harmed by Glass's lies. Judging from the spate of editorials last week in The Washington Post, Washington Times, and New York Post, that is a minority view.

An Unplanned Vacation?

During the first four months of 1998, New York Times science reporter Gina Kolata averaged just under eight stories a month. Between May 1 and May 22--the Voice's early deadline for Memorial Day--however, Kolata has published one: her front-page May 3 article ladling optimism over two experimental cancer treatments. Kolata's sudden drop in productivity is fueling rumors that the Times temporarily suspended Kolata after the firestorm that accompanied that story.

But the Times says it ain't so. Executive editor Joe Lelyveld said Friday through a Times publicist: "Gina has not been put on suspension of any kind."

Research: Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

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