A forgery, a Monitor apology, and accountability
Regarding your April 25 article "Newly found Iraqi files raise heat on British MP": I was stunned when I read that story in the Monitor. There was a very tabloid tone about it that was not consistent with the usual high standards of reporting in the Monitor.
M. J. Downey
Winter Park, Fla.
Regarding your June 20 article "Galloway papers deemed forgeries": Will an "apology" repair the damage to Mr. Galloway's reputation? As a supposedly professional publication, you have a duty to fact check before you publish articles that are potentially so devastating to individuals.
I admire the Monitor for having the courage both for running the detailed story on its earlier erroneous story about the forged Iraq documents relating to George Galloway, and for apologizing to him.
While critics might fault the Monitor for having gotten such a hot story wrong in the first place, I credit the paper for going the extra miles to get it right. For me, this only increases my trust in the Monitor.
Documents conveniently "uncovered" in the days following the war amid heavy looting and destruction should have been viewed with the highest skepticism - especially when they reveal "facts" about one of the most influential and outspoken critics of the war. Is it too much to believe that someone might have an agenda to smear such a man?
I really hope you receive the journalistic black eye you deserve for such shoddy reporting, as it served someone's sinister agenda to smear a champion of peaceful means of conflict resolution and dedication to human rights.
Since George Galloway's reputation was soiled by the Monitor's use of bogus documents, it is incumbent upon the paper to issue more than an apology. It is time for some hard-nosed investigative reporting: Who is General Rasool, the documents' source? For whom was he working? Who is behind the trashing of Galloway's reputation? You owe your readers a full explanation.
Stephanie G. Wall
Your examination of the Galloway papers and your frank disclosure that they are forgeries do you credit. The sewer that is the British press refuses to resort to forensics, confident that its scoop cannot be wrong.
Downpatrick, N. Ireland
Paul Van Slambrouck's "Note from the Editor" (June 20) has more the tone of an excuse than of the apology that is properly due to George Galloway in the wake of the Monitor's outrageous mistake. None of the situational complexities Mr. Van Slambrouck describes provide any cover. For the Monitor to put forward such accusations without identifying Mr. Galloway's accuser - the source of the documents - is inexcusable.
Daniel C. Goodwin
Paul Van Slambrouck writes, "We are continuing our effort to tell what we know, as fully and fairly as we can, to set the record straight." Let me encourage the Monitor to hang on to this story, now that you've made this limited concession to the truth. Are we to believe a has-been Iraqi general spontaneously dabbles in Britain's domestic politics for a mere cut of an $800 translation fee?
Your apology is nice, but your readers would prefer you to make it up to us by looking underneath the documents.
John F. Garcia
Iowa City, Iowa
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