Photograph by Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images.
The cousin of Anthony Shadid, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who died in February while reporting from Syria, says that the reporter was pressured by his editors at the New York Times to take the dangerous assignment.
Speaking at a D.C. conference, Ed Shadid said that his cousin had a "screaming" argument with Times editors the night before he left Turkey for Syria, Politico reports. "It was at this time that he called his wife and gave his last haunting directive that 'if anything happens to me I want the world to know the New York Times killed me,' " Ed Shadid said Saturday at the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee event. (The organization confirmed Ed Shadid's remarks to Politico on Sunday, noting that "everyone was shocked" by the charges.)
Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy disputed Shadid's accusations. "With respect, we disagree with Ed Shadid's version of the facts," she told Politico. "The Times does not pressure reporters to go into combat zones."
According to his cousin, Anthony Shadid was worried about logistical issues related to his entry into Syria, in addition to his health issues prior to the reporting trip. Shadid died of an acute asthma attack. As the Washington Post notes, the charges might explain a cryptic remark made by the reporter's widow soon after Shadid's death. In an interview, Nada Bakri had said that she was "mad at journalism."
For more on Anthony Shadid, take a look at this "Longform" roundup of the journalist's best work.