New York Times Public Editor Criticizes Paper's Iraq Coverage

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan was very critical of the paper's recent Iraq coverage and warned Saturday that the Times could be headed down a dangerous yet familiar path.

In a weekend column, Sullivan wrote that in the months leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, much of the Times' reporting took a hit for being "flawed" and "lacking in needed skepticism." Now, with the renewed crisis in Iraq, Sullivan said that readers are once again accusing the Times' coverage of lacking in balance -- and that they're right to do so.

A principal criticism is that the paper has been giving too much of a platform to Iraq hawks and unnamed sources, while neglecting to give a voice to those who oppose an intervention.

"On the Op-Ed pages and in the news columns, there have been very few outside voices of those who opposed the war last time, or those who reject the use of force now," Sullivan wrote Saturday. "But the neoconservatives and interventionists are certainly being heard."

Sullivan pointed to several recent examples in the Times where she said readers were correct to complain that the paper is failing to present both sides of the argument about Iraq.

"I hope that the editors -- on both the news and opinion sides -- will think hard about whose voices and views will get the amplification that comes with being in the Times," she concluded.

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