GREENFIELD, Mass. (Aug. 12, 2000)—Friday night’s statement of apology given by ABC News reporter John Stossel is not enough to make amends for the damage caused by the erroneous 20/20 report on organic food, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) said.
"Friday night’s show was a perfect time for ABC News to act in good faith and correct all the misinformation that it has disseminated. The two-and-a-half minute apology cannot undo all the damage caused by ABC’s broadcasts in February and July, and continued postings of the transcripts on its web site," said Katherine DiMatteo, OTA’s executive director.
"By airing this brief apology, ABC has taken a corrective step, but more needs to be done," said DiMatteo. Specifically, at a minimum, OTA seeks a full retraction, ABC’s immediate withdrawal of archival files of the story, and the posting of corrected information on ABC 20/20’s web site.
Earlier in the week, OTA had made these requests in a letter to ABC News President David Westin. Although Westin sent a brief message to OTA to acknowledge receiving the letter and promising ABC would send a response in the near future, OTA had not received a response before the apology aired.
DiMatteo said the trade association, which represents all sectors of the organic industry in North America, is prepared to take whatever steps are needed to restore the good reputation of organic agriculture.
August 12, 2000
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