New York Times Accused of Censorship by Italian American Leaders

The newspaper has a sordid past when dealing with the Italian American community, so it came as little surprise when their staff refused to publish a full page Columbus ad.

The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO) has denounced the decision of the New York Times’ Ad Acceptability Team to not run an advertisement promoting the Italian American community’s stance on current rhetoric against Christopher Columbus in advance of the Columbus Day holiday on October 11.

The ad, which was to appear on Monday, September 27, in the New York Times, as well as the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, sought to dispel claims against Columbus that have been promoted by opponents of statues and celebrations in his honor. These claims include accusing Columbus of racism as well as mistreatment and enslavement of the native tribes he encountered. Both Wall Street Journal and Washington Post will run the advertisement in question on the planned publication date.

In their response to COPOMIAO, the New York Times provided incorrect information regarding Columbus’s treatment of Native Americans that has been disproven by several scholars on the subject. The response also incorrectly stated that Columbus Day observances cannot be linked to the 1891 lynching of 11 Italian Americans in New Orleans, despite evidence to the contrary.

“Many Italian Americans believe that The New York Times has a lengthy history of insensitivity toward our community,” said Basil M. Russo, president, Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations. “This began with an editorial applauding the 1891 lynching of 11 Italian immigrants and continues to this day with the Times’ unwillingness to allow our community the opportunity to defend our history and heritage.”

COPOMIAO urges Americans of all races and ethnicities to examine the current discussions surrounding Christopher Columbus, especially the misinformation that has been promoted in recent years due to works such as Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. For more information and to view the Columbus ad in question, visit www.copomiao.org/history.

Interviews with Basil Russo, president of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations, are available upon request.

contact us at it.am.presidents@gmail.com

About the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations

The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO), headquartered in New York City, represents 50 of the largest and most influential fraternal, educational, and anti-defamation organizations in the Italian American community. Its primary mission is to preserve and promote the heritage, history, culture and values of Italian Americans for the benefit of current and future generations. For more information, visit www.copomiao.org.

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