Some follow-up on the story of Cpl. Jeffrey Starr, a Marine killed in Iraq on Memorial Day, whose last letter home the New York Times excerpted in an October 26 story marking the 2000th fatality in Iraq. Sunday's New York Post has the reaction of Starr's girlfriend to the paper's dishonestly selective quotation of his last letter to her: "The reason I chose to share that letter was the paragraph about why he was doing this, not the part about him expecting to die. It hurt, it really hurt," As summarized by TimesWatch and others last week, reporter James Dao's story printed a portion of the letter that fit into the paper's agenda of emphasizing the "grim mark" of the 2000th death, thus reducing Starr to a man just waiting to die: "Sifting through Cpl. Starr's laptop computer after his death, his father found a letter to be delivered to the Marine's girlfriend. 'I kind of predicted this,' Cpl. Starr wrote of his own death. 'A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances.'" But here's the full context of that quote, as Michelle Malkin first revealed, showing how Starr felt about his death in the context of the fight for freedom in Iraq (portion left out by the NYT in bold): "Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances. I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."The Times has yet to comment on Dao's story, which is rather strange, given that there is an actual factual error in Dao's reporting. If the paper truly wants to honor the death of troops in Iraq, it could start by noting that Cpl. Starr's date of death was Memorial Day, May 30, not April 30, as the paper reported last week.For more examples of New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.
More on a Marine's Truncated Letter
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.