On Sunday, October 14, 2012, the New York Times published an editorial by its "public editor" entitled, "Questions on Drones, Unanswered Still". It described the lack of clear reporting on U.S. drone killings, and observed, "The Times has not been without fault. Since the article ("Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will") in May, its reporting has not aggressively challenged the administration’s description of those killed as “militants” — itself an undefined term. And it has been criticized for giving administration officials the cover of anonymity when they suggest that critics of drones are terrorist sympathizers. Americans, according to polls, have a positive view of drones, but critics say that’s because the news media have not informed them well."
Below is a letter in response to the New York Times editorial from No Drones Network.
To the New York Times Public Editor:
I would like to see the New York Times cite the claimed legal basis (an actual legal complaint, an actual plaintiff's name, an actual finding of fact in a court of law, an actual legal ruling in a court of law) for each of the drone killings it reports. Where these things do not exist, affirmatively report this fact to your readers. Discontinue the practice of printing characterizations of victims by unnamed sources and/or where there is no verifiable basis.
If the facts are properly reported, the American public will be able to recognize these killings for what they are -- extrajudicial executions -- and will see they are completely disconnected from any legitimate or legal acts that can be properly carried out by a representative of the US government.
No Drones Network
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
Zeke Johnson, Amnesty International
Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Nick Mottern, Know Drones
Debra Sweet, World Can't Wait