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      TIME Was Duped by Turks...

TIME Was Duped by Turks...   4/08/2005

TIME’s Chief Editor Claims
Magazine Was Duped by Turks

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

The June 6, 2005 issue of the European edition of TIME magazine included a DVD as a paid ad.  The DVD had a 70-minute segment that completely denied and distorted the facts of the Armenian Genocide. In the same issue, along with the DVD, TIME ran a four-page ad, placed by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, promoting tourism in Turkey.

In an earlier column, I pointed out that the 70-minute “documentary” was hidden behind several other segments on the DVD all of which dealt with tourism. This revisionist DVD created a worldwide uproar against TIME for acting as a conduit for Turkish distortions.

In response to complaints from many readers, TIME printed in the June 20, 2005 issue of its European edition the following letter:

“I was rather disappointed to see a DVD in your magazine [June 6] accompanying a Turkish ad that portrayed Armenians as terrorists and the Armenian genocide as a myth. TIME has a good reputation for unbiased reporting. The DVD is an insult to all Armenians across the world.” The letter was signed by Gagik Mikaelian, Chicago, Ill.

The editors of TIME added the following note to that letter: “TIME is an independent newsmagazine and does not endorse the views of any organization or government. We regret any offense caused by the advertisements.”

Given the gravity of the offense committed by TIME, this brief letter and the briefer response fell far short of what is expected, particularly in view of the fact that TIME’s European edition had violated anti-racism and genocide denial laws of several European countries, besides offending the sensibilities of its readers.

Simon Maghakyan of Colorado was so offended with TIME’s denialist DVD that he sent a letter of complaint to Norman Pearlstine, the Editor-in-Chief of TIME, Inc. After receiving no answer to his several letters, Mr. Maghakyan fired off an angry e-mail to Mr. Pearlstine, making a parallel between the sending of the Turkish DVD to distributing Nazi propaganda.

That e-mail got Mr. Pearlstine’s attention.  He sent the following reply, making this interesting and important revelation: “We have, of course, apologized in the magazine for accepting a DVD whose contents were different from what we had been led to believe they would be.”

Regardless of whether the Editor-in-Chief of TIME is being honest in his assertion that the magazine’s executives were misled by Turks, such an admission opens the door for Armenians to ask that TIME now redress the damage it caused by disseminating the Turkish DVD to 500,000 subscribers in more than a dozen European countries.

In an earlier column, I suggested that TIME take the following 6 steps to make up for its grave error:

1) Publish a real apology for disseminating this fraudulent DVD;
2) Issue a formal memo to all its divisions around the world not to accept this DVD as an insert (the Ankara Chamber of Commerce has announced its intention to place the same DVD in TIME’s Asian and Pacific editions);
3) Issue a written warning to all its advertising executives not to accept any more ads from Turkish entities that deny the Armenian Genocide (just as they would not run an ad that denies the Jewish Holocaust and glorifies Hitler; the New York Times recently rejected an ad from Turkish organizations denying the Armenian Genocide);
4) Destroy the extra 116,000 copies of this DVD that are still in TIME’s possession;
5) Agree to insert and disseminate free of charge a DVD, prepared by a reputable research institute, on the Armenian Genocide;
6) Donate the payment it received from the Turkish Chamber of Commerce for this ad to an Armenian charity.

After admitting that TIME magazine ran an ad that it shouldn’t have, Mr. Pearlstine must now meet with Armenian community leaders to discuss the next steps in order to avoid a costly and embarrassing lawsuit in several European countries and a loss of subscribers as well as advertisers in the U.S. and other parts of the world!

Another Case of U.S. Double Standard

For more than 10 years Azerbaijan and Turkey have blockaded Armenia in violation of congressional resolutions and international conventions. The Armenian government and the Armenian American community have repeatedly asked U.S. officials to pressure the Turks and Azeris to lift their blockade of Armenia. The American government has turned a deaf ear to these Armenian requests.

However, when it suits the purposes of the neo-cons who have hijacked U.S. foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, high-ranking Americans officials selectively condemn certain border closures, even when they are not asked to do so by the countries involved.

A blatant case of such a double standard occurred last month, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for Syria to open its closed border with Lebanon during her visit to Beirut.

“We would like to see the day when there are good, neighborly relations between Syria and Lebanon based on mutual respect and equality. But good neighbors don’t close their borders to their neighbors and it is a very serious situation on the Lebanese border where Lebanese trade is being strangled. The best outcome would be for there to be free flow of commerce between Syria and Lebanon and we would hope that that would be restored very, very soon,” she said.

The Secretary of State is right in urging Syria to open its closed border with Lebanon. However, one cannot escape the unmistakable suspicion that Ms. Rice, rather than caring about Lebanon’s welfare, is hypocritically exploiting that country’s closed border just to bash Syria.

It is curious that while the Lebanese border has been closed for only a couple of weeks, and Lebanon does have unfettered access to the Mediterranean Sea, Ms. Rice seems to have no interest in similarly denouncing Turkey and Azerbaijan for having blockaded land-locked Armenia for more than a decade! This is the type of double standard that makes people around the world resent U.S. foreign policy.


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