Mark Arax, who got into a bit of trouble with the top brass at the LAT last week for appearing to be biased in coverage about the Armenian genocide, sent this memo to colleagues today, demanding a public apology from Doug Frantz:
[Update: We hear Arax is on the "short list" of reporters who will be "encouraged" to take the buyout. Sources say this memo -- and all the rest of the hubub -- is his way of protecting his job.]
I am not sure about the timing of writing you. In no way do I want my personal issue to add to the turmoil inside the Times. But as I’ve watched our newspaper respond to my issue over the past several days, I’ve come to conclude that it raises troubling questions that go right to the heart of what we do and how we do it. I know of no other way to explain the matter to you than to proceed straight with logic.
I have been accused by Doug Frantz of having an opinion on the Armenian genocide. “Are you now or have you ever been a believer in the Armenian Genocide?” Of the numerous accusations that Frantz has thrown my way over the past month, this one I am happy to plead guilty to. Yes, I have a stance on the Armenian genocide. I believe it happened. And I am gratified to know that my newspaper believes it happened, as well. So here is the dilemma at hand: What is our obligation when this same newspaper, in stories from Istanbul in 2004 and 2005, begins to contradict its policy on the genocide? What is a reporter to do when members of the Armenian community — judges, politicians, civic leaders — start calling and demanding to know why the newspaper is suddenly throwing qualifiers in front of the word “genocide?”