| 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.
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.
the Der Spiegel reporter actually read what is printed on every page of the
boycottwatch.org web site, they would have noticed that Boycott Watch looks at
boycotts, ask both sides their story and posts it on the boycottwatch.org 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."
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.
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
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:
Editors and Management
In your April 2, 2003 article titled "Friendly Fire
der Boykotteure," you miss-reported about Boycott Watch and the boycott of
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
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.