Newspapers do better some weeks than others. I am moved to write out of concern for the coverage of the United States and of German-American relations in the March 9 issue of your paper.
The lead article on page 1 did exactly what DIE ZEIT claims not to do. It joined an emotional and one-sided public debate about the role of the United States in the world, put forward every stereotype imaginable and then concluded that somehow Germany had to fight itself free from American domination. A doubtful conclusion, but even more doubtful journalism. Given the hectic debate of the preceding week, some thoughtful commentary would have been useful. You chose emotions instead.
So too with the article on page 5 about the Atlantik Bruecke. (...) This article defames an organization which has been one of the foundations of our friendship for nearly fifty years.
I am sure a journalist can collect gossip about every organization, including the DIE ZEIT Redaktion and the American Embassy. That is not the point. The point is that the Atlantik Bruecke and its leadership have been tireless in cementing contacts, building dialogue and seeking to overcome the types of misperceptions represented in these articles. I know of no organization, which has contributed more to the contacts between our two countries. My own discussions suggest that membership of the Atlantik Bruecke is even more dedicated to its goals and to its leadership.
One can only wonder about editorial judgements which seemed aimed at fanning the flames of a short-term disagreement exactly at the time when careful comment was required. I hope this is not a precursor of an new, reduced standard form journalism at DIE ZEIT.
Sincerely, John C. Kornblum, Berlin Botschafter der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika