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The Clouds of War Reporting

To the Editor:
In regard to Mr. Stern’s Esteemed Reader in your February issue, and specifically to his third paragraph rant about Israel—what lofty pontifications given with no humility and with even less objectivity.

I am not sure that when Mr. Stern wrote his piece he was aware of the fact that Israel did not bomb the UN headquarters and there were no children killed. While it made great headlines and no doubt contributed to Mr. Stern’s condemnation of Israel, it was just another example of Hamas’s press/media manipulation, much more common than Mr. Stern realizes.

The reality was that the United Nations has publicly reversed its stance on one of the most contentious and bloody incidents of the recent Israel Defense Force operation in Gaza, and confirmed that the IDF mortar shells fell in the street near the compound, and not on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency school.

Rather, it seems the real story is that some people, including at least two Hamas militants, were killed when Israel returned fire from Hamas mortars launched from among a crowd in the street. While it may still bother readers that people died, it is very, very different to what was so widely alleged, and far more forgivable. While it made great headlines, it was just another example of Arab terrorists’ manipulation of the press and media, which is more common than American’s realize.

Unfortunately, I could supply countless examples of terrorist propaganda, naively (and in some cases not so innocently) accepted by journalists, including Mr. Stern, and publicized in the press. While retractions are often made as the truth becomes known, this media correction occurs after the fact, and well after public opinion has been influenced by these falsehoods.

One other example of media manipulation by Arab terrorists that Mr. Stern needs to be reminded of is the Palestinian claims that Israel was guilty of atrocities in Jenin (on the West Bank). At that time, spokesman Saeb Erekat, for example, told CNN that at least 500 people were massacred and 1,600 people, including women and children, were missing. The Palestinians quickly backpedaled when it became clear they could not produce any evidence to support the scurrilous charge, and their own review committee reported a death toll of 56, of whom 34 were combatants. No women or children were reported missing.

Colin Powel said at the time, “I see no evidence that would support a massacre took place.” Powell’s view was subsequently confirmed by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and an investigation by the European Union.

The coverage of journalists and welfare groups reporting from territory run by terrorists has never been trustworthy. When we repeat these reports we become mouthpieces for their propaganda.

One other point, I think it’s up to the Israelis—who are actually living next to a failed, violent society which espouses their annihilation—to decide whether they should “open [themselves] to humility and forgiveness” and turn the other cheek or not. Given the neighborhood that Israel lives in, that’s a good way to end up without any cheeks, or limbs, or children, or country.

Mr. Stern’s message of peace, love, brotherhood, humility, and smiley faces would be more appropriately directed to the misogynistic, murderous Hamas fanatics who were elected on a platform of killing Israelis, not on a mission of “hands across the border and let’s trade youth groups, kumbaya.”

Then again, using Mr. Stern’s logic, it might be a good thing to find the native American group from whom the land on which Mr. Stern resides was stolen...and give it back.

Susan Puretz, Saugerties


To the Editor:
Last week, I spotted the newest Chronogram in my chiropractor’s office and secretly hoped that he was running late so that I could have some uninterrupted reading time. After 10 minutes into the magazine, I knew I had to write to you.

I think the first thing that intrigued me was what you wrote [Editor’s Note, 2/08] about the way in which people decide what to read first “a seamless experience, flipping from one page to another” a great analogy. It made me look at how I read Chronogram. Usually, without exception, I go to the horoscopes first, then I look for your Editor’s Note. Once I have read your column, I dive into the rest of the magazine and save the poetry page for last. For some reason, I decided to read the poetry page first in the February issue and was so taken with Cynthia Poten’s “Anybody Knows What Love Is.” I read and re-read it several times…what a beautiful piece. It certainly gave me the impetus to try again to get one of my poems published in your magazine. And then I read your last paragraph. Serendipity.

I have always loved poetry and I especially liked Robert Farley’s poem in the December issue, and the poem “For My Father” in the January issue really spoke to me. Suffice to say that I find Chronogram to be worthwhile and valuable. I have watched its evolution from the early days of the publication and look forward to the longevity of this provocative magazine. Thank you.

Barbara Lane, New Paltz

Where There’s Smoke…

To the Editor:
The full page cigarette ad in your February issue is a strange choice for
Chronogram. Seems to me a magazine that says it’s about “sustainability, arts, and wellness” would benefit from a policy of limiting advertising to products that reflect its readers’ values.

What’s next? Ads for booze? Handguns? Casinos? Adjustable rate mortgages?

Carl Bethge, Catskill

To the Editor:
I have been a long time reader of Chronogram, so I was surprised and saddened to see an ad for cigarettes in one of my favorite magazines. Perhaps, an ad of this nature has been running for a while and I just missed it. I confess, I sometimes skip around to get to the high quality writing pieces! However, I have to ask the question: Why would a publication with your long-time integrity support a cancer-causing substance that contains enough government approved chemicals to induce death many times over, and is marketed to our youth in this classy magazine? If it’s because they are “all natural/organic”—please—I only eat organic foods, but a cigarette is a cigarette.

It makes me angry enough to leave it on the shelf next time. If money is the issue, I would rather pay a cover price.

Lisa Chason, via e-mail

Publisher Jason Stern responds:
My thanks go out to those expressing their concern and dismay that
Chronogram accepted advertising from Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company. Having received these letters and reflecting more deeply, I see that running this advertisement was a violation of the special responsibility and trust we took on as publishers of a magazine dedicated to the wellness of our community. Though Santa Fe Natural is a small company that produces organic and additive-free tobacco products, their mission is ultimately inconsistent with our values and ideals and those of most of our readers. In addition to specific health issues around tobacco, addiction could be considered a form of disease in itself, and we do not wish to be an influence that would undermine a person’s determination to break free of that bondage. We will never again accept advertising for tobacco products and we will strive to keep Chronogram a magazine in which the advertising as well the content are worthy of your respect and attention. Please continue to hold us to that commitment.

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