| 24Nov2008 | William F. Jasper

Ukrainian Genocide: NY Times Still Covering Up

Is the New York Times "airbrushing" history again? It would seem so. On Saturday, November 22, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko presided over a commemoration in Kiev of the 75th anniversary of the famine genocide of 1932-1933 that took the lives of 7-10 million Ukrainians. Known as the Holodomor (Ukrainian for "murder by hunger"), it is one of the greatest mass murders in history, and one of the cruelest. Joining President Yushchenko for the event were official delegations from 44 countries, including the presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Macedonia, Georgia, Latvia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina.

The New York Times prides itself on being the national "newspaper of record" and still carries its longtime motto, "All the News That's Fit to Print" in the upper left-hand corner of its front page. If we are to believe the Times' motto, the week-long Holodomor commemoration didn't take place, or at least it didn't qualify as "news." A search of the Times website — using both visual scan and their own search engine — yielded zero results for current or recent stories.

Using the Times' search engine and various combinations of "Holodomor," "Ukraine," and "Ukrainian famine," brings up a number of articles, most of which are years or decades old. The most recent entry was a September 6 article covering a visit to Ukraine by Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife. They are shown in a photograph with President Yushchenko and his wife. The caption for the photo reads: "Vice President Cheney, his wife Lynne, left, and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and his wife at the memorial for the victims of the Holodomor in Kiev, Ukraine, on Friday." However, there is no explanation of Holodomor for the Times' readers, 99 percent of whom have never seen or heard the word before.

The photograph accompanies an article entitled, "Cheney Pledges Support for Ukraine," which reports on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine over Ukraine's desire to join NATO. However, there is no mention of Holodomor or famine in the article.

There was plenty of Times coverage of other breaking European and World "news" on November 22: an increase in boar hunting in Germany, the semi-retirement of famed French chef Olivier Roellinger, Russian President Medvedev's trip to Venezuela, an inquiry into the alleged crimes of General Franco in Spain during the 1930s, etc.

The Times neglect of the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor is especially inexcusable, inasmuch as the Times served as an indispensable handmaiden to Stalin as he carried out this horrendous crime against humanity. While the communists carried out the mass annihilation of the Ukrainian farmers, the Times assured the Western world that all reports of starvation in Ukraine were merely anti-Soviet propaganda. Times reporter Walter Duranty, known as "Stalin's Apologist," became a willing tool for the Kremlin and denounced as liars those heroic journalists who dared to report the truth — that Ukrainians were dying by the millions, their bodies filling the streets of many towns and villages. The two most notable of those journalists were Gareth Jones of Wales and Malcolm Muggeridge of England, both of whom are revered in Ukraine and were posthumously awarded the country's Order of Freedom on November 22 at a ceremony in Westminster.

Jones, who wrote for The Western Mail, The Times [of London], The Manchester Guardian, and other European and American newspapers became a "marked man," due to his outspoken and fearless exposÚs of Soviet atrocities, corruption, and failures. In 1935, he was kidnapped and murdered in Mongolia. Although authorities claimed his death was the work of bandits, evidence showed the deed was actually an assassination, carried out by the NKVD, forerunner of the KGB. 

Meanwhile, the Times' Walter Duranty, basking in the glory of a Pulitzer Prize for his sychophantic pro-Stalin reportage, continued to promote the communist line. Without the Times and Duranty providing cover, it would have been politically impossible for President Franklin Roosevelt to grant recognition to the Soviet regime. Four presidents before him and as many Secretaries of State had adamantly refused recognition because of the numerous crimes and atrocities of the communist regime and because of its continuing sponsorship of communist subversive activities within the United States. However, with the Times covering up Stalin's crimes, including the famine genocide in the Ukraine, Roosevelt was free to arrange official U.S. recognition for the U.S.S.R. on November 16, 1933.

No mea culpa from the Times
The New York Times got away with its perfidy for decades, though this publication and its predecessors (American Opinion and The Review of The News), along with other conservative publications, had been exposing the Times'' key role in the Holodomor cover-up for years. Ukrainian groups had been demanding that the Times admit its deception, but to no avail. It was not until 2003, when it was reeling from a scandal involving another of its star reporters, Jayson Blair, that it appeared the Times might be forced to come clean on one of the biggest journalistic crimes of all times.

Under pressure from the Ukrainian community to return Duranty's ill-gotten Pulitzer to the Pulitzer Prize Board, the Times hired Professor Mark Von Hagen of Columbia University to make an independent assessment of Duranty's coverage of the Soviet Union during the 1930s. Dr. Von Hagen called Duranty a "disgrace" and criticized his work for its "uncritical acceptance of the Soviet self-justification for its cruel and wasteful regime.'' He recommended that the Pulitzer Board take back Duranty's Pulitzer Prize. Reporting on Von Hagen's verdict on October 23, 2003, Times writer Jacques Steinberg attempted to give the appearance that the Times had already issued a sufficient pronouncement of public contrition.  Steinberg wrote:

That The Times regretted the lapses in Mr. Duranty's coverage was apparent as early as 1986, in a review of Robert Conquest's The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (Oxford University Press). In the review, Craig R. Whitney, who reported for The Times from Moscow from 1977 to 1980, wrote that Mr. Duranty "denied the existence of the famine in his dispatches until it was almost over, despite much evidence to the contrary that was published in his own paper at the time."

That, apparently, is the Times' idea of justice: a one-sentence half-apology to make up for reams of propaganda enabling and covering up the murder of millions. Steinberg cited a letter by Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the publisher of the Times, to the Pulitzer Board. In the letter, Sulzberger referred to Duranty's reporting merely as "slovenly," as though he had been careless, rather than deliberately and criminally mendacious. Steinberg then went on to reiterate a theme propounded by Sulzberger, who argued, incredibly, that to strip Duranty and the Times of the Pulitzer would be to engage in Stalinism. Steinberg reported:

Mr. Sulzberger wrote that the newspaper did not have Mr. Duranty's prize, and thus could not ''return'' it. While careful to advise the board that the newspaper would ''respect'' its decision on whether to rescind the award, Mr. Sulzberger asked the board to consider two things. First, he wrote, such an action might evoke the ''Stalinist practice to airbrush purged figures out of official records and histories.'' He also wrote of his fear that ''the board would be setting a precedent for revisiting its judgments over many decades.''

Bill Keller, the Times' executive editor repeated the same line, telling Steinberg, "As someone who spent time in the Soviet Union while it still existed, the notion of airbrushing history kind of gives me the creeps.''

Professor Von Hagen responded to the Times' twisted and deceptive excuse for failing to relinquish the Pulitzer, pointing out the obvious:

Airbrushing was intended to suppress the truth about what was happening under Stalin. The aim of revoking Walter Duranty's prize is the opposite: to bring greater awareness of the potential long-term damage that his reporting did for our understanding of the Soviet Union.

The Times' Airbrush Still Working Overtime

The Times ran out the clock on the Duranty-Pulitzer-Holodomor issue in 2003, simply allowing it to die down, apparently confident that only diehard Ukrainian activists would remember. In so doing, the Times compounded its culpability. Not only is the Times the principal agent in the western media responsible for airbrushing of Stalin's crimes out of existence, it continues to use the airbrush to prevent any exposure of its past involvement in those deeds. An important case in point is its suppression of a document that has come to be known as the "Gordon Dispatch." This is a recently released memorandum by George A. Gordon, U.S. Charge d'Affairs in Berlin, Germany, to the U.S. Secretary of State. Gordon said of Duranty, who had just come from the Soviet Union and had stopped by the embassy before going on vacation, "Duranty pointed out that 'in agreement with The New York Times and the Soviet authorities' his official dispatches always reflect the official opinion of the Soviet regime and not his own."

The Times' defense in recent years — that Duranty pulled the wool over the eyes of the Times — is shown to be likely false. The Gordon Dispatch indicates that it was the Times itself, not merely Duranty, that was responsible for the pro-Stalin, pro-Soviet slant in the Times' pages. But in the case of Holodomor the Times was guilty of far worse than "slanting" the news; it was a willful collaborator in a "crime of the century," a willful collaborator in blatant propaganda to cover up that crime. The Times has never mentioned the Gordon Dispatch. According to Ukrainian scholars like Dr. Walter Zaryckyj, an adjunct professor at New York University, the management of the Times has not attempted to atone for paper's egregious sins in the Holodomor-Duranty case by thoroughly airing the facts, admitting its guilt, publicly apologizing, and unequivocally denouncing Duranty and returning the Pulitzer Prize. "They were allowed to get off in 2003," on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Holodomor, Dr. Zaryckyj told The New American, because not enough other members of the media, academia, and the public pressed the issue, when the Times was most vulnerable. "Now it is the 75th anniversary and the Times shows no sign of changing its ways," he said. "This would have been the perfect time to interview the remaining survivors of the Holodomor and to cover the commemoration [in Kiev, New York City, and elsewhere] and bring world attention to this terrible crime and its victims. The survivors are in their 80s and 90s; five years from now, at the 80th anniversary, most of them will have passed away."

As far as the Times is concerned, apparently, they will be airbrushed out of history, along with the Holodomor commemoration this year and the original victims of the Holodomor 75 years ago.