Monday, June 25, 2012

Dead New York Times Reporter Anthony Shadid Allegedly Told His Wife: "The Times Killed Me" [UPDATE]:

In an interview, Ed Shadid—an Oklahoma City physician and city councilman—told Gawker that his cousin didn't want to go to Syria in February, didn't feel like he had the support of his editors, and had been previously warned off a Syria trip by a Times security consultant.

"Did he want to go at that time?" Shadid said. "Did he feel like he had the logistical support necessary? The answer is no." According to Ed, a Times security consultant reviewed a plan to infiltrate Anthony and his photographer Tyler Hicks across the border between Turkey and Syria in December 2011, but rejected it as too dangerous. "There was a security advisor who said, in no uncertain terms, 'You are forbidden to enter Syria,'" Ed says. "So Anthony wrote an email to Tyler Hicks and says, 'Hey man, it's off. We're not allowed to go.'" But roughly six weeks later, Ed says, Anthony's editors reversed course and asked him to go anyway.

"The situation was worse on the ground than it had been in December," Ed says. "The only thing that had changed was that CNN had gained access to [the rebel stronghold] Idlid. My understanding is that CNN gaining access bothered his editors."

The night before Anthony left his home in Beirut for Turkey to begin the journey into Syria, Ed says, he was overheard on the phone with his editors "screaming at them and saying, 'This is horseshit,' and slamming down the phone." He doesn't know the specifics of what the arguments were about, but claims that Anthony felt he wasn't supported by the Times. He asked for camping equipment to bring along on the journey through the mountainous border, Ed says, but his editors said no. When the 43-year-old reporter complained about the physical demands of the journey, Ed says, Times foreign editor Joseph Kahn responded, "It sounds like you're going to get a lot of exercise on this assignment."