To: Editor, New York Times, Public Editor, New York Times, and Reader Representative, Washington Post

NYT, Washington Post: Provide Sustained Coverage of US-Backed Civilian Deaths in Yemen

FAIR and Just Foreign Policy

The New York Times and Washington Post should expand their coverage of civilian deaths in Yemen caused by a US-backed military campaign.

Why is this important?

On March 25, 2015, a Saudi-led coalition began an airstrike campaign in Yemen to defeat the Houthi rebels who have effectively overthrown the government backed by Saudi Arabia and the US. The Obama administration is openly providing “logistical and intelligence support” to the offensive. [1]

The Yemeni civil war has claimed the lives of over 1,500 civilians. [2] The coalition declared the entire city of Saada a military target, which Human Rights Watch labeled a war crime. [3] Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East has said that the Saudi-led, US-supported coalition is “turning a blind eye to civilian deaths and suffering caused by its military intervention”. [4]

The US public must not do the same. Yet the coverage of civilian deaths in Yemen by major US media outlets, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, has been cursory and superficial. The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald [5] foretold the coverage of an airstrike by the US-backed coalition that killed at least 45 civilians in Fayoush, Yemen. [6]

"None of the victims will be profiled in American media; it’ll be very surprising if any of their names are even mentioned. No major American television outlet will interview their grieving families. Americans will never learn about their extinguished life aspirations, or the children turned into orphans, or the parents who will now bury their infants."

Coverage in the Times and Post bore out Greenwald's predictions: The Times website ran a Reuters wire story [7] and the Post online had an AP piece [8], neither of which included any details about the victims. Neither paper appeared to cover the airstrike in their print editions.

Urge these media outlets to provide serious coverage of the civilian bloodshed resulting from an offensive the US government is supporting.