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Media Analyses





In IHT, Holocaust Denial is Legitimized as Alternate "Theory"


Holocaust denial is given an air of respectability in the International Herald Tribune in Nazila Fathi’s December 12 “news” story, “Holocaust conference draws skeptics to Iran."  The theories of the conference's invited Holocaust deniers—described as “scholars and researchers”—are granted the same legitimacy and credibility as what Fathi terms “the accepted version of events” surrounding the Nazi genocide of Jews. At no point in the article does Fathi state as fact that millions of Jews were murdered by the Nazis, and that those who claim otherwise are liars. 

 The New York Times, parent company of the IHT which goes to press a few hours after the Tribune, also ran the Fathi article. But in sharp contrast to the IHT, the Times edited the piece extensively, repeatedly clarifying for readers the facts about those debating the Holocaust.

Following is a side-by-side comparison of select excerpts from the Tribune versus the Times:

Example 1:

International Herald Tribune

New York Times

Holocaust deniers and skeptics from around the world gathered at a government-sponsored conference here Monday to discuss their theories about whether six million Jews were indeed killed by the Nazis during World War II and whether gas chambers existed.

Iran held a gathering that included Holocaust deniers, discredited scholars and white supremacists from around the world on Monday under the guise of a conference to “debate” the Nazi annihilation of six million Jews. . . .

Example 2:

International Herald Tribune

New York Times

The Foreign Ministry had said that 67 foreign researchers from 30 countries were scheduled to take part.

The ministry said 67 people from 30 countries were participating. . .

Example 3:

International Herald Tribune

New York Times

Among those speaking on Monday were David Duke, the American white-supremacist politician and former Ku Klux Klan leader, and Georges Thiel, a French writer who has been prosecuted in France over his denials of the Holocaust.

Among those representing the United States was the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, whose prepared remarks, issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said the gas chambers in which millions perished actually did not exist...

Example 4:

International Herald Tribune

New York Times

The conference included an exhibition of various photos, posters and other material meant to contradict the accepted version of events, that the Nazis murdered millions of Jews and other "undesirables" in death camps during the war. New captions in Persian on some familiar photos of corpses at the camps argued that they were victims of typhus, not the German state.

An accompanying exhibition also denied the Holocaust. One poster with three photographs showed dead bodies and described accounts of their gassing as a myth. Signs pointed to smiling prisoners freed at the end of the war with the label “truth.”

New captions in Persian on other pictures of corpses described them as victims of a typhus epidemic in Europe, not of the Nazi death machine.

Example 5:

International Herald Tribune

New York Times

Anti-Zionist literature, including a 2004 book by the American author Michael Collins Piper, about Zionist influence in America, was on display. So, apparently, was a video recording of 12 Holocaust survivors telling their stories, suggesting that the views represented at the conference may not have been entirely one-sided.

The organizers said they planned for “both sides” to be heard, but none of the speeches collected in the ministry’s book or any of the exhibitions spoke of the reality of the Nazi killing. A CD with the stories of 12 Holocaust survivors was said to be available.

The New York Times, which notoriously minimized the Holocaust during World War II, is to be applauded for its sound judgment in editing Fathi’s article. The article, however, raises serious questions that must be addressed by the editors at the Tribune. How could this article have been printed as is? What new safeguards will be introduced to ensure that hateful propaganda pedaled as news will not be printed again? What will be done to rectify the misimpression that the murder of six million Jews by Germany under Adolf Hitler is a matter of debate, as opposed to a historic fact?


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