The L.A. Times' decision to go ahead and distribute Parade magazine's Benazir Bhutto issue as if she were still alive — with an unfortunate cover line — has drawn more than 100 complaints. An editor's note on page two of Sunday's A section tried to explain it away — "The Times distributes but does not publish Parade" — but as the paper's readers' representative wrote today, "Not everyone saw the note, and even the readers who did weren't happy about the decision to distribute Parade in light of the leader's death."
Dan Harrison of Los Angeles was one of dozens who had called and written by midday Sunday: "My wife and I were both severely disappointed in the L.A. Times' decision to include todayís Parade magazine with Benazir Bhutto on the cover, with the obvious assumption that she was still alive. We understand that the L.A. Times doesnít publish Parade and that it was published before her assassination, but The Times does ASSEMBLE the newspaper and there is no way that it should have been included....
Reader Maureen Cobbett of Temple City hadn't seen that Page A2 note: "To allow this issue to be distributed as if Ms. Bhutto was still alive is disrespectful of her memory, insensitive to Ms. Bhutto's family, friends and loyal followers, and irresponsible journalism. Would an interview with a slain U.S. politician have been treated in this way? I think not. Shame on Parade magazine and the L.A. Times!"
By Monday, more than 100 readers had complained. In response, L.A. Times publisher David Hiller said that The Times was legally bound to distribute Parade..."That issue was printed before she was killed and Parade magazine management made the determination to release the approximately 32 million copies they had printed, believing that there would be significant reader interest in one of the slain leader's last interviews. I am sorry if we gave offense to any of our readers, but we are contractually obligated to distribute Parade and we honored our legal commitment to do so."
Parade explain$ why it told the 400 papers that carry the cheesy magazine to stuff it in on Sunday despite the story being way out of date: "We decided that this was an important interview to $hare with the American people."