For many admirers of Anthony Shadid's reporting, the foreign correspondent's death in Syria earlier this year was a needless tragedy. For at least one member of Shadid's family, the blame for the war reporter's death from an acute asthma attack lies with his employer, The New York Times.
On Sunday, according to Politico, Shadid's cousin told an annual gathering of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee that the Pulitzer-prize winning journalist (pictured at left) had heated arguments with his editors just prior to his final trip into the country, and informed his wife that The New York Times would be to blame if he died.
"The phone call the night before he left [Turkey for Syria], there was screaming and slamming on the phone in discussions with editors," the website reports Shadid's cousin, Ed Shadid, as saying last night at the meeting in Washington, D.C.
"It was at this time that he called his wife, Nada Bakri, 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 during in a speech to the group.
Some attending the meeting tweeted Shadid's comment, noting that the audience at the gathering was surprised by the statement.
Politico reports that Anthony Shadid is said to have complained about logistical issues regarding his transfer into Syria. Shadid, who died Feb. 16, was enduring health issues prior to entering Syria, Ed Shadid also told the audience.
Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy rebutted Ed Shadid's claims, telling Politico that the newspaper's editors didn't pressure Anthony Shadid into going into Syria.
"Anthony's death was a tragedy, and we appreciate the enduring grief that his family feels," Politico quotes Murphy as saying. "With respect, we disagree with Ed Shadid's version of the facts."
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