Arax says story about Jews and genocide ended his LAT career

With some Jewish leaders now acknowledging the 1915 Armenian genocide by Turkey, former Los Angees Times reporter Mark Arax recounts how his story on the subject led to his 2007 exit from the paper. Writing today at Salon, Arax says "this sudden embrace of the Armenian Genocide" — in the wake of strained relations between Israel and Turkey over the flotilla raid — "actually marks a shameless turnaround for the major American Jewish organizations." In telling his tale, he doesn't doesn't name then-managing editor Doug Frantz, but luckily LA Observed has extensive archives on the public showdown between editor and reporter over an Arax story that identified a rift among Jewish leaders over the Armenian genocide. From the Salon piece:

If I sound cynical about all this, maybe I am.

In the spring of 2007, I wrote a story that revealed how genocide denial had become a dirty little pact between Turkey and Israel and its lobby in the U.S.

The story, as it turned out, was my last story at the Los Angeles Times, the only story in my 20-year career that was killed on the eve of publication....

I wrote the story and filed it. My editor in Washington was pleased. It landed on the weekend budget, a strong candidate for Page One.

The weekend came and went, but the story held. I called the editor and asked if there was a problem. He was sorry to say that the story had been killed -- on a last-minute order from the managing editor.

“But why?” I asked.

"Your byline," he said.

"My byline?”

Then it hit me. Even as the paper was nominating one of my other stories for a Pulitzer Prize, on this story I was an Armenian.

Arax says the story was later reworked by a Jewish reporter: "By the time he was done, there was not a single mention of Jewish denial." Frantz, it should be noted, has always had a different take than Arax on the story and why it was held. Frantz left the paper about two weeks after Arax resigned and is now chief investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Fixed: Arax piece in Salon, not Slate.

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