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Appendix: Willamette Week / Rose City Antifa correspondence

Appendix to "Willamette Week Smears Rose City Antifa, Excuses Local Bigots"
Subject: From Willamette Week
From: "James Pitkin" < jpitkin@wweek.com>
Date: Sat, August 22, 2009 11:26 am
To:  fight_them_back@riseup.net

I wanted to make sure you guys saw this blog post. I am working on an in-depth story about you, and I really feel it would be in your interest to talk to me.

 http://blogs.wweek.com/news/2009/08/21/calling-all-anti-fascists/

I can either write a fair and accurate story that includes your perspective, or I can write a fair and accurate story that does not include your perspective. It's your choice.

James Pitkin
Reporter
Willamette Week
Tel. 503 445 1540
Fax 503 243 1115
wweek.com

***

Subject: James Pitkin / anti-fascists
From: "Rose City Antifa" < fight_them_back@riseup.net>
Date: Tue, August 25, 2009 6:17 pm
To:  mzusman@wweek.com
Cc:  hstern@wweek.com

Dear Mark Zusman and Henry Stern,

We are contacting you regarding the upcoming Willamette Week article which concerns our organization, Rose City Antifa. We are writing to you because we believe that you are the correct people to address a complaint about your journalist James Pitkin's unethical treatment of this story-in-progress.

On Wednesday, August 19, Mr. Pitkin left our organization a voicemail stating that he wished to speak with us. Two hours later, he sent us a brief email communicating the same thing. Then, on Friday the 21st—-just over 48 hours after Mr. Pitkin's voicemail and less than 48 since the email—-Mr. Pitkin placed a goading blog entry on your paper's website, containing biased language and a false allegation about our group. He followed this up with an email on Saturday the 22nd, suggesting that his fairness in the upcoming article would be relative to our cooperation.

Mr. Pitkin is not approaching the story in good faith or in an ethical manner. No effort has been made to engage broader anti-racist circles outside of our organization, and there has been no attempt to place fascist and anti-Semitic activism in any sort of context, by consulting with academic or other neutral sources. Mr. Pitkin's earlier authorship of an opinion piece against Rose City Antifa has compromised his ability to report news accurately and without bias.

Rose City Antifa believes that, in a climate of radical-Right resurgence, Willamette Week readers deserve information and context about organized fascists, anti-Semites and white supremacists of our region. Coverage of anti-racist tactics or the reasoning behind them may also be of interest to your readership. We are willing to discuss these topics with your publication—-in fact, we welcome the opportunity. We are not, however, willing to speak with the unethical journalist you currently have assigned to this story. We will not assist with any article with which he is involved.

If you wish to further discuss with us about Mr. Pitkin's unethical coverage, we are interested in doing so and will respond promptly to any messages. We are open to taking part in a conference call with you about this matter. We are eager to talk with another member of the Willamette Week reporting staff, but will not do so until we have received assurances that Mr. Pitkin is off the story. We are simply asking to be treated with a modicum of professionalism and in a relatively dispassionate, unbiased manner.

Best regards,

Rose City Antifa
Portland branch of the Anti-Racist Action Network

Voicemail: 971.533.7832
Email: fight_them_back [at] riseup [dot] net

***

Subject: Re: James Pitkin / anti-fascists
From: "Mark Zusman" < mzusman@wweek.com>
Date: Tue, August 25, 2009 6:31 pm
To:  fight_them_back@riseup.net
Cc:  hstern@wweek.com

Thanks for this email. I would agree with you that this is an important story that deserves thorough reporting.

Before I can proceed, I need a bit of help.

1-you state in your email that James wrote a "a goading blog entry on your paper's website, containing biased language and a false allegation about our group"
I assume you mean this piece
 http://blogs.wweek.com/news/2009/08/21/calling-all-anti-fascists/
If so, would you be so kind as to tell me what the false allegation is?

2-you also say in your email that James
> "followed this up with an email on Saturday the 22nd, suggesting
> that his
> fairness in the upcoming article would be relative to our
> cooperation."

Would you be so kind to send me that email?

thanks much

>

Mark Zusman
Editor
Willamette Week
2220 NW Quimby
Portland, Oregon 97210

***

Subject: Re: James Pitkin / anti-fascists
From: "Rose City Antifa" < fight_them_back@riseup.net>
Date: Wed, August 26, 2009 11:51 am
To: "Mark Zusman" < mzusman@wweek.com>

Dear Mark Zusman,

We appreciate you getting back in contact.

Regarding your requests for further information:

1) You assumed correctly about which piece we were referring to. It is not true that our organization "then targeted the hotel where he [David Irving] spoke".

2) The email from James Pitkin is below.

Thank you for looking into this matter.

***

Subject: Re: James Pitkin / anti-fascists
From: "Mark Zusman" < mzusman@wweek.com>
Date: Wed, August 26, 2009 2:57 pm
To:  fight_them_back@riseup.net

Great-thanks for this. Now, is there someone I can have a phone conversation with?

Mark Zusman

***

Subject: Re: James Pitkin / anti-fascists
From: "Rose City Antifa" < fight_them_back@riseup.net>
Date: Thu, August 27, 2009 7:13 am
To: "Mark Zusman" < mzusman@wweek.com>

Yes, of course. We'd appreciate it if you would call [name redacted] at [phone number redacted]. She works on [scheduling information redacted]. Alternately, please suggest a few times when you may be reached at the Willamette Week offices.

We look forward to speaking with you about this matter.

Best regards,

Rose City Antifa

***

Subject: Re: James Pitkin / anti-fascists
From: "Rose City Antifa" < fight_them_back@riseup.net>
Date: Sun, August 30, 2009 10:28 pm
To: "Mark Zusman" < mzusman@wweek.com>
Cc:  jpitkin@wweek.com

Dear Mark Zusman,

Thank you for making time to speak with [name redacted] on Saturday. Our organization discussed our concerns surrounding James Pitkin's upcoming story. While we still have misgivings about Pitkin's ability to ethically report this story, we understand that there are potential difficulties for you, as an editor, in switching reporters, no matter how serious complaints may be.

In order to grant an interview for this story, we would need:

• An addendum to Pitkin's WWire blog entry, clarifying that it was posted only two days after calling our voicemail, that our organization is granting an interview, and that the entry incorrectly attributed flyers at the Embassy Suites hotel to Rose City Antifa.
• The interview to be conducted via conference call, between two of our members and you, or between our members and Pitkin, with you on the line.
• Permission to verify all quotations attributed to our members and an opportunity to respond to allegations concerning our organization.
• A commitment by the editor (you) to independently fact-check and edit the story for accuracy.

Unfortunately, the best time for an interview would be [scheduling information redacted].

Please give [name redacted] a call at [phone number redacted] if you are willing to set up the conference call interview. It would also be great if you could confirm via email Willamette Week's consent to our requests.

We hope you will consider these requests to be fair and in the interest of accurate reporting. We look forward to sharing our information and perspectives with your paper.

Best regards,

Rose City Antifa

***

Subject: Re: James Pitkin / anti-fascists
From: "Mark Zusman" < mzusman@wweek.com>
Date: Mon, August 31, 2009 8:48 am
To:  fight_them_back@riseup.net

I left a message on [name redacted]'s machine today. Please have her or someone call me back this morning.

thanks

***

Subject: Re: James Pitkin / anti-fascists
From: "Mark Zusman" < mzusman@wweek.com>
Date: Thu, September 3, 2009 10:27 am
To:  fight_them_back@riseup.net

It is my understanding that we are meeting on Monday. Can we do it at 4:30 in our office?

regards,

Mark

***

Subject: Re: James Pitkin / anti-fascists
From: "Rose City Antifa" < fight_them_back@riseup.net>
Date: Sun, September 6, 2009 9:16 pm
To: "Mark Zusman" < mzusman@wweek.com>
Cc:  jpitkin@wweek.com

Dear Mark Zusman,

We are emailing you to state the obvious: there will be no interview with Rose City Antifa tomorrow, or ever, for Pitkin's story.

While we recognize that you struck a pleasant tone in conversation with [name redacted], unfortunately this pleasantness did not translate into basic signs of good faith, such as a correction and clarification being added to Pitkin's WWire blog entry, which has now been online for over two weeks.

We are also disturbed that you were prepared to go to print with a deeply unbalanced original story, which even you described as being of poor quality. Rose City Antifa does not feel obliged to supply quotes for a piece of writing that is unethical to the core, that falls outside the domain of news reporting, and that instead appears to be a feature-length continuation of Pitkin's earlier opinion piece.

Our organization cannot take your statements of integrity at face value, given your lack of follow-through on a simple matter of accuracy. We again feel that we have been placed in a situation where we need to bargain and do favors in order to receive factual and balanced reporting. We would like to remind you that professional ethics are not supposed to be the carrot in a carrot-and-stick scenario; they are something that everyone should expect.

Whatever little trust had been established, is now definitively broken. This is our final decision concerning Pitkin's story.

Disappointed,

Rose City Antifa

homepage: homepage: http://antiracistaction.org
phone: phone: 971-533-7832 (VM)


main article 24.Sep.2009 01:02

RCA

This is just an appendix to the main article here:
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2009/09/394348.shtml

Hint 24.Sep.2009 07:35

shhh

(You could have just posted this as a comment to the main article. That way, it would be in context, would make more sense, and would not be taking up more room on the newswire.)(But good article.)