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  • New York Times Distorts Truth To Serve Vested Interests of Fur Advertisers

    NEW YORK- In what activists describe as, "a shameful and unethical conflict of interests," the magazine section of The New York Times, the so-called ‘Paper of Record’ is sponsoring a breakfast for fur designers.

    According to animal activist B.D. Doyno, "Fur is a highly contentious and polarized issue. By accepting page after page of fur advertisements, the Times jeopardizes their objectivity. In sponsoring an event like this, they reveal that objectivity is not even a concern."

    In 1997, the Times printed what Doyno describes as, "a highly distorted front-page article on the resurgence of the fur trade and a backlash against anti-fur activists, continuing a long-standing tradition of biased coverage against the animal rights movement.

    Added ADL member Chris Beaker, "The Times runs stories almost identical to this one pretty much every year, constantly predicting the return of fur, yet conveniently failing to mention the postseason results, like last season’s five percent drop in fur sales." In 1994, the Times ran an article accompanied by a drawing of a fur wearer thumbing her nose (presumably at activists) on a resurgence in fur sales and a backlash against activism-- the same themes as in the 1997 article.

    However, despite the ‘94 article’s prediction, ‘94 saw no actual major increase in fur sales, and, activists charge, neither did 1997. Activists charge that the publication of these articles has little to do with news coverage, and more to do with the massive advertising revenues the Times receives from furriers. In fact, in the same time period that the Times ran the 1994 article, the Fur Information Council of America placed a large, full color insert in the New York Times magazine. "There is no basis in fact of a "backlash" against activists." says Doyno, who points to a recent Inside Edition poll found that 75% of respondents opposed the wearing of fur. A survey conducted by the Center for Information The Public Interest in ûlate 1996 found that 79.7% of people surveyed were disturbed by the way animals are killed for fur and and 50.3% would consider boycotting stores that sell fur.

    "The fur industry resurgence is merely a public relations gimmick. Fur marketers agree with what animal activists have been saying for years: fur wearers are shallow, easily manipulable conformists who will follow any trend. If the perception is created that there is a trend towards fur, then they will buy fur." said Beaker.

    Yet even designers are leaving the fold, with major designers including Calvin Klein, Oleg Cassini, and Donna Karen refusing to design fur. In ordered to replace the lost designers, the industry, in a state of desperation, funded an all expense paid trip to Denmark and the Copenhagen Fur Institute. Free skins were supplied by the Fur Information Council of America, and the designers were taught how to use fur , and were immediately offered jobs with US fur manufacturers. Rather than presenting this new designer recruitment as damage control, the industry instead spoke of a "Youthquake." in fur design.

    While the New York Times was printing glowing reports of the comeback of fur, other major media presented more critical analyses. According to an article on MSNBC’s website, "Fur Industry Resurgence Just Window Dressing", the industry has artificially padded sales figures by deceptively including fur storage revenues, in an attempt to create the image of a flourishing fur industry. The article ùalso debunks the notion of a ‘backlash" against activists, a major selling point that the industry has attempted to use to use to tap into a perceived public dislike of "political correctness." The Times has an extensive history of biased coverage of fur and animal rights in general. In 1991 the Times was one of the only papers in the nation to give no mention the March for Animal Rights, an assemblage of 50,000 activists in Washington, DC.

    In 1996, the Times was the only daily in New York City to not cover Fur Free Friday, an event where 36 activists, many locked together in a circle with their arms connected inside metal pipes, blocked the entrance to two fur stores, Fendi and Revillion, backed by almost 300 protesters on the street.

    What You Can Do:

    1. Write to demand less biased coverage: Letters To The Editor, The New York Times, 229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036-3959. Also write to Arthur Sulzburger, publisher of the Times, at the same address. email letters@nytimes.com or fax to (212)556-3622. Letter should be no longer than 250 words

    2. Watch the Film "Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media" to learn more about how the Times distorts facts to serve vested interests.

    Recent Pro-Fur New York Times Articles:

  • Staying Warm and Fuzzy During Uncertain Times
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