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SPJ Pres. on publication of Unabomber manuscript


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Statement of Reginald Stuart, national president, Society of Professional Journalists:

"I have a lot of respect for Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Graham and know how difficult a decision this must have been for them. I respect their decision and am sure it was based on more information than observers like myself have been privy to.

"However, reasonable people can disagree and I continue to feel this manuscript should not have been published under the circumstances that it was.

"I have always said this is a `damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't' situation. Given the fact that we are dealing with a terrorist, whose motives beyond murder and intimidation are not clear, we should have erred on the damned-if-you-don't side of judgment and relied on our law enforcement authorities to do their job.

"As much as the Unabomber may have wanted this publicity and the government felt providing it would help bring this nightmare to an end, I feel we have only fed the ego of an irrational person who has no respect for human life. I hope I am wrong on that point. On the larger point of publishing the manifestoes by terrorists, I hope we never do this again, the welfare of the public requiring it."

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