After all the fuss about l’affair Lehrer, the sequence of events that led to NY Times reporter Anthony Shadid’s death is horrifying (boldface mine):
His death in Syria on February 16, 2012 sent shock waves through newsrooms around the country. Numerous articles described his bravery, brilliance, and elegiac prose…
New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger stated about their star reporter: “Anthony was one of our generation’s finest reporters. He was also an exceptionally kind and generous human being.”
…On June 23rd, explosive new information suddenly and unexpectedly came out halfway through a calm, thoughtful speech by Anthony’s close cousin, Dr. Edward Shadid of Oklahoma City. In an acceptance speech on behalf of the family at a banquet honoring Anthony, his cousin quietly described an awful scenario:
Just 11 months after Anthony’s deeply traumatic kidnapping, for which he received no counseling or treatment for possible PTSD, The New York Times insisted that Anthony illegally infiltrate Syria in a poorly planned, dangerously risky operation. His editors overruled Anthony’s objections and failed to provide equipment he had requested. When he then died of what his cousin suspects was a heart attack, the Times put out an inaccurate story that obscured the newspaper’s role in his death, while proclaiming him a hero and basking in the reflected glory.
…Anthony’s colleagues expressed surprise that his editors insisted he enter Syria, Dr. Shadid said, because Anthony had appeared on Syrian television and was a “wanted man.”
When Anthony objected to the planned operation and the physical demands of the journey, Times foreign editor Joseph Kahn flippantly responded from his desk in New York, “It sounds like you’re going to get a lot of exercise on this assignment.” Anthony’s request for camping equipment for the trip was turned down…
He said that after Anthony’s death, the Times put out a story saying that Anthony “died of asthma and that his body was carried out heroically by a journalist.” According to Dr. Shadid, “That never happened.”
…There is no doubt that the circumstances preceding Anthony’s death and his cousin’s public revelations about them are highly newsworthy: they add new information on the widely reported death of an extremely significant figure; dispute allegations contained in a multitude of previous news stories; provide a troubling look at how one of the nation’s most important newspapers treated its reporter; contain a powerful condemnation of that newspaper said to have been made by the deceased journalist; and, probably most importantly, convey information that could potentially prevent future tragic deaths.
This is awful. Hell, it’s a lot worse than plagarism (read the whole story to see just how little the NY Times cared about its employee).
As Atrios is want to say, time for a blogger ethics panel!