In this particular instance the paper ran a story on the 2,000th member of the U.S. armed forces to be killed in Iraq. The story described a letter written by one of those men to his girlfriend, but not mailed. Instead it was found on his laptop computer and intended to be read by his girlfriend if he was killed.
Here's what the paper published about this letter:
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.’A picture in the article (on-line version) showed the soldier's father looking at his grave, with a caption telling readers that the corporal had said he was "tired of the harsh life...so he enrolled in community college, planning to attend after his enlistment ended in August."
So the impression is of just one more sad, deluded victim of the Bush war machine, eh? A kid who had no idea what he was doing or why he was over there, just another mindless facist tool.
Fortunately the corporal’s family forwarded the entire letter to Michelle Malkin, so we can read what Corporal Starr really thought, not what the Times' selective editing would portray. Here’s what Corporal Starr actually wrote, in the letter he intended for reading in the event of his death:
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."The bold type is what the Times reporter intentionally ignored. Perhaps the Times could try claiming this was due to space constraints, but clearly this would be a lie. The reporter ignored the rest because it didn't fit the fiction the Times has been pushing about the war and the U.S. armed forces.
Novelist Lisa Huang Fleischman wrote New York Times public editor Byron Calame to point this out, and just blows the Times away:
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...Seems to me that observation is right on the money: Reporters seem to have a hard time believing there can be something that gives life "transcendant meaning." Wonder why?
Tim Blair has the whole story. Congrats to Tim and Lisa for some great work.