April 29, 2016
Mr. Gerard Baker
Editor in Chief
The Wall Street Journal
1211 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10036
Dear Mr. Baker,
We write to express our outrage over the genocide denial advertisement published in The Wall Street Journal on April 20, 2016. As you may know, April 24 is the official day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, a day that Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac survivors of the genocide and their descendants mourn the loss of their loved ones. We were further upset by the response of a WSJ spokesperson to Gawker and The Huffington Post that “WSJ accepts a wide range of advertisements, including those with provocative viewpoints. While we review ad copy for issues of taste, the varied and divergent views expressed belong to the advertisers.” Genocide denial is not “provocative,” but deeply offensive hate speech.
The website linked to in your advertisement clearly denies the Armenian Genocide in several ways, including by disputing the number of people killed, referring to the genocide as a “destructive conflict,” or the “1915 tragedy.” While the coded language used on the website may be unfamiliar to outsiders, we are all too familiar with the use of this language as a tool for denial. Furthermore, the advertisement was run by an organization called the “Turkic Platform,” a propaganda group that aims to distract conversation from Turkey’s role in the Armenian Genocide through the use of billboard and newspaper advertisements and other activities.
It is The New York Times policy not to accept advertisements that engage in or promote Holocaust and genocide denial. Their policy reads: “We do not accept advertising that denies great human tragedies. Events such as the World Trade Center bombings, or the Holocaust, or slavery in the United States, or the Armenian Genocide or Irish Famine cannot be denied or trivialized in an advertisement.” WSJ should consider taking a stance similar to that of NYT.
We request the following:
A formal apology to your readers for running this ad, including to those who are victims or descendants of victims of the Armenian Genocide; A policy review to ensure WSJ will no longer accept advertisements which promote hate speech and genocide denial; and A meeting with senior staff of WSJ’s advertising department to better understand the policy under which the WSJ accepted this ad.
We thank you for your time and await your response.
A Demand for Action
ANCA Eastern Region
Carl Wilkens Fellowship
Darfur Interfaith Network
Hellenic American Leadership Council
In Defense of Christians
Director of Policy and Programs
Jewish World Watch
Stop Genocide Now
Together We Remember
United to End Genocide