Editor's Note: Mr. Rosenthal had a lengthy response to our story, Write-Off on the Range. In the interest of allowing him to fully express his thoughts, we include below a letter from Mr. Rosenthal and the edits that Mr. Rosenthal would have made to the story if he were the editor. High Country News stands by its story with our own corrections and clarifications, posted here.
PREAMBLE TO CORRECTION ARTICLE
“WRITE OFF ON THE RANGE”
BY REID ROSENTHAL
The practice of journalism is a valued and critical component of democracy and is the key to dissemination of unbiased, fair and balanced information to the public in the form of news. Journalists are those that practice the profession of journalism. Journalism and journalists occupy positions of the highest trust in furnishing writings on which millions depend to form opinions. Journalists are no less than the fiduciaries of the public’s primary source of information.
Recent scandals at the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS/Dan Rather, and other media outlets have all involved false, slanted, improperly biased, agenda laden misinformation or falsehoods dangerously labeled as “news”. HCN’s recent article “Write off on the Range” is unfortunately yet another example of this most egregious breach, by some journalists and publications, of the public trust.
The Corrected Article below, “Write off the Range – Correction Article” is the story written by Mr. Ring, edited by myself, without waiver, to be a factual news story. In journalism a writer never offers his opinion in a news story, never breaches agreements made with story subjects or sources, never states as facts matters contrary to the certified records available or provided to him, never prints incomplete or incorrect quotes, or misstates, by representation or omission, material facts which would render the story misleading.
Yet Ray Ring, and HCN undertook all those errors in the original article. HCN was offered the opportunity to correct their numerous fundamental abrogations of journalistic responsibilities. The Corrections thus far are partial, and remain misleading. I and others have been victims of misinformation in the past. Unless the press understands, and is held to their sacred responsibilities, tomorrow the victim could be you.
The corrected article is without Mr. Ring’s unsupported opinion masquerading as fact, with all misquotes corrected. All changes are in bold. All deletions are noted in the right hand margin. All changes are based on public records fully available to HCN and Mr. Ring, (and indeed stated in the original piece to have been investigated and reviewed by Mr. Ring), documents provided to Mr. Ring/HCN, verification by third party witness or sources of all matters. Quotes and discussions between myself and Mr. Ring during a six hour tour of four properties in Southwest Montana, are also verified by a third party witness. Matters not relevant to, and improperly included in the article, in some cases more than twenty years old have been left, without waiver, but factually corrected to the extent possible in synopsis form.