14 July 1998

Gerald M. Levin  Chairman/CEO
Time Warner, Inc
Time Warner Building
75 Rockerfeller Plaza
New York, New York  100119
 

Subject:  Retraction of Re; Tailwind

Mr. Levin:

   A month has passed, yet this open wound called Tailwind, continues to bleed
and fester with the infection of lies and misinformation.  We have not yet
received an adequate apology.

   As I noted in previous communications, we the veterans of the United
States, most notably those of Special Forces, have been grievously wronged by
this slander to our good name and reputation.  Mr. Lavin as I clearly laid out
to you in past letters, our only crime was to honorably serve this country and
its people. We did nothing wrong, we fought honorably and represented this
country well. Yet we were savaged by lies and slanderous allegations unheard
of in the history of responsible journalism.  Slandered so bad that the
founder of CNN publicly stated that this was the worst day in his life and had
contemplated suicide.

 In your address to the media on 11 June 1998, you seemed to fore tell the
storm that was soon to hit CNN and Time Warner. In your address to the media
you so eloquently articulated the responsibilities of your profession when you
stated quote: Independence isn't a license to print every rumor. It doesn't
justify a disregard of the facts in pursuit of being the first to get a story.
The media's responsibility to protect its freedom includes a duty to avoid
abusing that freedom by wantonly annihilating people's reputations.
Unfortunately, the phenomenon of "tabloidization" is real, and it raises a
basic question: If the standards of the tabloids become those of the entire
industry-if the governing consideration of every story is, "Will it
sell?"-won't the eventual result be a level of public distrust every bit as
corrosive as allowing media to serve as the mouthpiece of government?  The
great journalist Edward R. Murrow warned of "a slow poisoning, a peritonitis
of the soul that corrupts from within and erodes a respect for truth." The
danger remains. Yet it's fair to say no news organizations are more committed
to maintaining the highest standards of editorial integrity and quality-or
more successful in putting that commitment into practice-than Time Inc. and
CNN. end quote.

   I am sure you believe what you said and in fact was setting the standard
for your organization.  Mr. Levin, I would submit to you that you did fore
tell the future.  Your words have now come back to you with the public
expectation that CNN and Time Warner Inc, will honor the standard and
commitment to excellence made by you only a year ago. As I reread your words,
I respectfully request that you do the same and apply these standards to the
Tailwind Scandal.  The words I believe were heartfelt. The actions necessary
to give meaning to those words will hurt, but to heal the body, corrective
surgery is necessary and the cancer, the infection must be cut away and
discarded.

    Mr. Levin, I ask again that you take decisive action to put this shameful
lie behind Time Warner and return to Special Forces its good name.  We ask
that you direct the discharge of Mr. Arnett, the production of a totally
unbiased program telling the whole truth and let the chips fall where they
may.  Personally offer a heartfelt apology to the people of the United States,
its veterans, the families and wives of our fallen heroes, and most
importantly to those many gallant warriors who will never come home to enjoy
the freedoms and honor for which they fought and died and so richly deserve.
Mr. Levin, just do the right thing.
 

Richard E. Laritz
LTC (Ret) US Army Special Forces

FAX: 208-362-5321

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