Skip to comments.New York Times Source Slams Paper on Augusta Coverage
Posted on 12/06/2002 3:27:47 AM PST by kattracks
CNSNews.com) - Dusty Avery is not happy with the New York Times.
Avery is a homemaker from Augusta, Ga., whose photograph graced a Nov. 17 New York Times article about the potential economic hardship for the community as a result of the Augusta National Golf Club's policy of allowing only male members, the recent protests it's attracted, and the possibility of more protests during the Masters Golf Tournament next spring.
But Avery said the Times misquoted her, distorted her remarks about the impact of feminist protests against the golf club's policy and isn't doing anything to correct the record.
"They misrepresented what I said," said Avery. "The Augusta National is not hurting the economy. This feminist group that has decided to make it their job to get women in the National, you know, it's hurting us. We're not mad at the National, we're mad at Martha Burk. She has no business down here."
Burk, who chairs the National Council of Women's Organizations, has launched a campaign for the club to admit women as members. The campaign is expected to result in numerous demonstrations during the Masters, which is hosted by Augusta National.
Avery also said New York Times reporter Jeffrey Gettleman told her he was having difficulty finding sources for his Nov. 17 article who would express criticism of the club.
"He said that people seemed to not be unhappy with the club," said Avery. "And I said 'that's because we're not.' The National does a lot for our community and many of us participate in the tournament or benefit from the business that the tournament generates."
The misrepresentations Avery claims were included in the Nov. 17 article reveal what she considers a bias by the New York Times in its news coverage of the issue.
"They're not accurately reporting both sides of the story," said Avery. "I guess their editorial opinion shows that they certainly feel strongly one way and they're not interested in publicizing anything to the contrary."
In his Times article, Gettleman wrote, "In this showdown, the people of Augusta will be the ones to lose," based on anecdotes from local residents about the impact of the anticipated protests during the Masters. Avery and her husband are among many Augusta residents who rent out their homes during Masters week, and she was among several locals quoted in the article.
The Avery home has not yet been rented out for the Masters and Gettleman quoted Avery as saying, "We don't need the money like a lot of people do." The Masters Tournament is scheduled to begin April 7, 2003.
Also subject to Avery's ire is the New York Times editorial department, which has so far refused to publish her letter to the editor about the problems she sees with the Nov. 17 article.
"I just feel that they're not giving fair, unbiased reporting," said Avery. "They're interested in showing one side of the story."
Asked about her response to being rebuffed by the New York Times, Avery said, "I'm not surprised."
In her unpublished letter to the editor of the Times, dated Nov. 21, Avery wrote, "Your reporter was invited into my home to discuss my outrage that Martha Burk would disregard the real concerns and attitudes of women in Augusta. Isn't it a shame, I explicitly told him, that one person's agenda could have such a negative impact on so many people."
Gettleman's article did include a sentence stating, "Augustans say they are not angry at the club but at those who are pushing it to accept women, like Martha Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations."
The Times report also noted that several large companies, including American Express, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Georgia Pacific and IBM, had cancelled plans to rent corporate housing for the tournament.
Attempts to contact Gettleman were unsuccessful. An official with the Times' Atlanta bureau, where Gettleman is headquartered, said the reporter was on assignment and a message left on his cellular telephone was not returned by press time.
Officials with the New York Times' Letters to the Editor department referred inquiries to the newspaper's corporate affairs office, which did not return calls by close of business Thursday.
The overall tone of Gettleman's article was one of how the controversy swirling around Augusta might be hurting the local economy, but officials with the Augusta Chamber of Commerce say their data indicate just the opposite.
According to the local chamber, bookings for private home rentals for the Masters Tournament are up 23 percent compared with this time last year, and revenues from those bookings are up 44 percent.
Barry White, executive director for the Augusta Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, said hotel reservations are also tracking well for the April tournament.
"All indications we have right now is that 2003 will be a great year," said White. "Some of the hotels I've spoken with have indicated they're ahead of last year."
According to White, the local area sees a surge in reservations after Jan. 1 and golf fans hoping to make a hotel reservation today would probably be able to make one. Space, however, is going fast, he said.
"I think you'd pretty much have the full spectrum available, but some of the places are already sold out," said White.
White said hotel room demand "exceeds supply, and typically those are all used," in the immediate Augusta area, with overflow demand finding lodging in an area that stretches from Columbia, S.C. to Atlanta.
"Some of the hotels I've spoken with have indicated they're ahead of last year," said White. "The trends that we're seeing compared to previous years are right in line."
If there is any risk to Augusta's local economy, Avery said it comes not from the golf club and its policies, but from Burk and others who threaten to protest the Masters Tournament.
"If the women in Augusta, Georgia don't care if there's no women members of the Augusta National, why should Martha Burk?" asked Avery. "There are many more important issues for women, and in the world in general, than the membership policies of the Augusta National. Martha Burk needs to find something more important to focus her attention on."
As for Augusta's men-only policy, Avery said, "It's a private club and they have a right to admit anyone they want. That's what private means."
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.
I really, really, really, really, really hate reporters who try and implement their political agenda in spite of overwhelming evidence that it is not popular. Our soldiers might be willing to give their life for his freedom to be an biased a--hole, but Jeffrey Gettleman should be hung by his thumbs in dungeons of Pravda for his outrageous bias. And, his grade school nuns should slap him silly for his numbskull comments openly admitting his bias to one of his interviewees.
All The News that fits, we print