Boycott Watch
April 3, 2003
Der Spiegel Gets It Wrong And Flames Hatred For
The USA As They Blame The USA For The Same
Update: Der Spiegel Corrects Article after Boycott Demand To Correct Erroneous Reporting
April 4, 2003
    On April 2, 2003 German news magazine Der Spiegel published an article online tiled "Friendly Fire der Boykotteure," or "Friendly Fire Boycotts" in English, about people in the US boycotting French goods.

    In the article, Der Spiegel claimed that the Boycott Watch published a boycott check list of French products, suggesting that Boycott Watch is advocating the French products boycott. This is not true. Boycott Watch does not advocate any boycotts, Rather, Boycott Watch published a list of what people have said they are boycotting and corrected what was in some cases incorrect information. That was clearly listed on the page listing products.

    Had the Der Spiegel reporter actually read what is printed on every page of the web site, they would have noticed that Boycott Watch looks at boycotts, ask both sides their story and posts it on the web site so people can decide for themselves what the truth is.

    Der Spiegel however did not do that, and as a result, Boycott Watch has received numerous hate emails from Germans using vile profanity, some calling Boycott Watch "Evil."

    Der Spiegel looked at the Boycott Watch web site and saw a list, but did not read the legend or description of the page. Thinking that this was a check list, Der Spiegel published their article. Had the Der Spiegel reporter actually read the top of the page, they would have learned that the list was compiled by Boycott Watch and that the legend clearly indicated what was in fact French and correcting other Boycott lists to state that certain products were not French. At that time, Der Spiegel would have understood what Boycott Watch does.

    Der Spiegel also failed to state that the list was linked to by both advocates of a French products boycott as well as a web site or a proponent of buying more French products.

    Der Spiegel did, however, link to sites Boycott Watch linked to, possibly getting those links directly from the Boycott Watch page without published that Boycott Watch linked to both sites because Boycott Watch is balanced and verifies both sides of the story, something Der Spiegel also failed to do.

    The Boycott Watch list clearly listed which items are not in fact French. These items have a big red 'X' next to them, and others that are still under investigation are marked with a large question mark next to them. Der Spiegel failed to mention that as well. As a result, Der Spiegel gave it's readers a false impression of what Boycott Watch does.

    Der Spiegel went as far as reporting on one item, French's Mustard, a product Boycott Watch clearly marked as not being French in order to correct a false boycott call. Der Spiegel, however, spent a considerable amount of their article to the false information, and never stated that the product is not on any of the lists Der Spiegel linked to because Boycott Watch showed that it was not in fact from France, and thus the items were removed from the lists of various boycott advocates.

    The Der Spiegel report was full of inaccuracies and was apparently written to fuel hatred for Americans because of a boycott that the Der Spiegel reported clearly had no grip on.

   Boycott Watch is also very concerned that the article was aimed directly at provoking anger at the US. Had Der Spiegel contacted Boycott Watch before writing their article, they would have learned that Americans are not angry at Germans. The reasoning behind the French products boycott is the obstructionist attitude of the French government in the UN recently. Although Germany was not in favor of the US actions in Iraq, Germany did not obstruct US efforts. The boycott therefore has nothing to do with Germany in the eyes of Americans, yet Der Spiegel created a firestorm of hatred aimed at the US. That was totally irresponsible of Der Spiegel.

    As a result of the poor quality reporting by Der Spiegel, Boycott Watch wrote Der Spiegel demanding an immediate correction in the article as well as an immediate retraction posted on the Der Spiegel home page so that the damage to our reputation can start to be repaired.

   Oddly enough, Der Spiegel created the very problem in Europe that they claimed people in the US have created. Der Spiegel has fostered hatred of Americans by reporting that Americans are damaging all of Europe with a boycott of French products and are too stupid to realize that just because the word 'French' is in a name, as in French's Mustard, it doesn't mean it is from France.

Der Spiegel did a disservice to Europe by fueling hatred with erroneous information. Boycott Watch strives to tell the entire story so people can decide for themselves what the truth is. Der Spiegel should be able to at least try and be accurate.

    The following is the text of the letter written by Boycott Watch to Der Spiegel:

    April 2, 2003

Editors and Management
Der Spiegel

    In your April 2, 2003 article titled "Friendly Fire der Boykotteure," you miss-reported about Boycott Watch and the boycott of France.

    Boycott watch does not advocate or call for any boycotts. Rather, Boycott Watch looks at both sides of boycott calls, corrects information, and publishes both sides of the story so people can decide for themselves what the truth is. Had you reporter actually researched what Boycott Watch is while writing the article, read what is printed on every page of our web site and looked at Boycott Watch to find out what we do, your reporting would have not misled your readers and you would have realized that Boycott Watch does not call for or advocate any boycotts, as your readers now believe.

    As a result of your bad reporting, Boycott Watch has received numerous emails, many of which have been threatening. We demand an immediate correction in the article as well as an immediate retraction posted on your home page so that the damage to our reputation can start to be repaired.

Fred Taub
Executive Director,
Boycott Watch
Click here for the original Der Spiegel article (We expect it to be changed or removed due to the Boycott Watch demands)

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