Times Maintains Near Silence as Haditha "Massacre" Case Crumbles

The Times ran over 35 stories on the Haditha "massacre," but issued only brief wire reports as the case against two Marines crumbled.

After the alleged killings in 2005 by Marines of 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha came to light in July 2006, the New York Times joined all other media outlets in hyping the Haditha "massacre." Reporter Paul von Zielbauer filed 36 stories. Four times Times reporters compared it to the infamous "My Lai" massacre in Vietnam.But now that the case is crumbling amid accusations of overzealous prosecution, the Times has maintained nearly complete radio silence.

When First Lt. Andrew Grayson was acquitted in the killings on June 4, the Times made do with a 127-word unbylined brief. On June 18, the Times barely covered dismissal of charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, on trial for failing to investigate the killings, running a 203-word brief from Reuters about the trial, being held at California's Camp Pendleton.

Of the original eight Marines charged in the killings, six have had their charges dismissed, one has been cleared, and one, Sgt. Frank Wuterich, remains on trial.

It's not as if von Zielbauer is on sabbatical or on another beat. Perhaps he was working too hard on this Monday front-page story on ayet nother murder trial involving U.S. troops in Iraq: "After Feud and 2 Iraq Deaths, Soldiers and Families Are Torn."